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Skye, Armadale, Pier Road

Cemetery (Bronze Age), Cist(S) (Period Unassigned), Cremation(S) (Bronze Age), Lithic Scatter (Neolithic)(Possible), Standing Stone(S) (Prehistoric), Food Vessel(S)

Site Name Skye, Armadale, Pier Road

Classification Cemetery (Bronze Age), Cist(S) (Period Unassigned), Cremation(S) (Bronze Age), Lithic Scatter (Neolithic)(Possible), Standing Stone(S) (Prehistoric), Food Vessel(S)

Canmore ID 179120

Site Number NG60SW 23

NGR NG 6365 0382

NGR Description Centred on NG 6365 0382

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Sleat
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Skye And Lochalsh
  • Former County Inverness-shire


Trial Trench (2000)

NG60SW 23 centred 6365 0382

NG 6365 0382 Trial trenching was undertaken in advance of a proposed housing development, the site lying in the vicinity of a number of archaeological sites. A total area of 356m2 was machine-excavated, being a 4% sample of the area. No archaeological features or deposits were revealed.

A report has been lodged with Highland SMR and the NMRS.

Sponsor: Wittets Ltd for the Highland Small Communities Housing Trust.

S Farrell 2000

Watching Brief (1 September 2009 - 14 September 2009)

NG 6366 0383 A watching brief was conducted on 1–3 and 14 September 2009, on land to the E side of Pier Road, in advance of a housing development. The site is to the S of a Neolithic chambered cairn (HHER MHG5246) and N of a long cist grave uncovered in 1961 (HHER MHG5244). During the watching brief, two burial cists were uncovered in the NE corner of the site. They were situated on a rise in the gravel spit of land that extends into Armadale Bay.

Cist 1 has an exterior length/width of 1.06m by 0.45m. The cist held one decorated Food Vessel, cremated bone

remains, and a small amount of poorly preserved unburnt bone. The Food Vessel was entirely decorated with impressed and incised designs and contained a small amount of organic material. Cist 2 has an exterior length/width of 0.85m by 0.40m. The cist held one intact Food Vessel covered with incised decoration. Both Food Vessels appear to date to 2000 – 1900 BC. Further clearance around the two cists revealed additional archaeological features, including three standing stones and further cists.

Archive: Mary Peteranna (currently)

Funder: UBC Group Ltd, Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association

Mary Peteranna

Excavation (22 September 2009)

NG 6366 0383 Following the identification of two Bronze Age burial cists during a watching brief at Pier Road (see above) excavations were immediately authorised to record the site prior to its destruction by the development. This work began 22 September 2009 and to date has uncovered a complex burial site that appears to have been in use well before the Bronze Age.

The site is characterised by a ring ditch with an arc of three in situ standing stones. The monument encircled a single large cist which contained the heavily degraded remains of an inhumation. The ditch features show several phases of use and restructuring, including timber and stone circle structures.

Five satellite cists and seven cremation pits represent further burials on the site. One additional grave W of the

ditch monument was located at a depth well below the other burials. It appears to have been built on an earlier ground surface and covered by a small cairn. This grave could pre-date the rest of the site. Various flint and bloodstone tools, a wrist guard fragment, three decorated Food Vessels and fragments of another decorated vessel have been recovered. Excavations on the site were ongoing as this summary was being prepared.

Archive: Mary Peteranna (currently)

Funder: UBC Group Ltd, Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association

Mary Peteranna

Excavation (September 2009 - January 2010)

NG 6366 0383 An excavation of a Bronze Age burial site and earlier associated features was undertaken from September 2009 to January 2010. The excavation was the result of the discovery of two Bronze Age cists during a watching brief in

September 2009, prior to development of the site (DES 2009, 113). A further watching brief and excavation was carried out on 28 March 2010 during additional site clearance required for drainage services.

The features on the site mostly related to a suite of funerary monuments and included single cist burials, deposits of cremated remains and a ring of interconnected pits that encircled a large cist and the remains of a kerbed cairn.

Other features that appeared to be unrelated to the use of the site for burial practices included hearths, prehistoric plough marks and a post/stone circle. As part of the initial planning condition a Neolithic chambered cairn 50m N of the site was also cleared and recorded.

The main burial site was centred on a ring of interconnected pits (Feature 15), containing an arc of three standing stones which encircled a large cist (Feature 4). Excavation of Feature15 recorded a timber post circle phase, followed by a stone

circle phase before the insertion of the central cist (Feature 4).

Radiocarbon dating should help to phase the construction of the features, although excavation has revealed that Feature 15 predates construction of the Bronze Age cists.

A total of seven cist burials were identified during the excavation. Four satellite cists were constructed outside of the ring monument and a fifth was later inserted into one of the ring feature’s terminal pits. Three cists contained cremated remains without urns. One of these cists (Feature 1) also contained unburnt bone that may represent possible inhumed remains. Two cists contained highly degraded inhumed remains. One cist contained no evidence of a burial and was probably constructed as a cenotaph (Feature 2).

Two of the satellite cists, Feature 1 and Feature 2, mirrored each other in construction, alignment and positioning and must have been built contemporaneously. Both contained decorated Early Bronze Age Food Vessel pots.

Other deposits of cremated remains were inserted across the burial site, mostly in pits, but occasionally in association with other features. Other cists contained grave goods, including a stone wrist guard fragment that was probably ornamental in nature and a variety of worked lithics. Worked lithics were also found within each deposit of cremated remains.

The seventh cist (Cist 7) was uncovered beyond the limits of the main site by the driver of a mechanical excavator, who safeguarded the feature. Although badly degraded, the burial contained the remains of an inhumation buried with

a hoard of five unused flint tools, three barbed and tanged arrowheads and two plano-convex knives.

There is also some evidence which suggests that the site could pre-date the Bronze Age. A possible stone burial setting (Feature 19), built into an earlier ground surface and covered with a small cairn, was uncovered below the level of the main

burial site within the central excavation area. In addition during the excavation of Cist 2 (Feature 2), the remains of a hearth (Feature 33) pre-dating the cist’s construction was uncovered at a similar level to Feature 19 and this was

also associated with the same earlier ground surface. Both were located at considerable depth in comparison to the main burial site. Finally, a variety of heavily rolled flint and bloodstone flakes (some possible tools) were found scattered throughout the site contexts, indicating a prolonged span of occupancy and the manufacturing of stone tools. Evidence of prehistoric agricultural activity recorded below the burial site surface was also intriguing.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended). Report: HHER and RCAHMS


Funder: Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association


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