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Islay, Sean-ghairt

Township(S) (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Islay, Sean-ghairt

Classification Township(S) (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 37682

Site Number NR36NE 12

NGR NR 381 675

NGR Description NR c. 381 675

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2018.

Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Killarow And Kilmeny
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NR36NE 12 c. 381 675.

NR36NE 12.01 centred on NR 3825 6774 Township

NR36NE 12.02 centred on NR 3800 6745 Township

The remains of the habitations of the guards of the castle on Eilean Mor are said to be on the shore opposite the island.

F Celoria 1959.

Also noted are the remains of a former village, near Finlaggan farm by the loch.

No remains that could be presumed the 'habitation of the guards' were found.

On the west side of Loch Finlaggan at NR 381675 is the abandoned 18/19th century township Sean-ghairi (OS 6" map, Argyllshire, 2nd ed., 1900).

It comprises two groups of about half a dozen building foundations each, and one or two random footings outlying. Dimensions range between 10.0 by 6.0m. and 30.0 by 5.5m. There are field walls and bank, one or two enclosure and extensive rig and furrow cultivation.

Visited by OS (JM) 17 June 1978.

No definite connection can be made between the two townships (NR36NE 12.01 and NR36NE 12.02 ) and the village, habitations or occupation that is historically or traditionally attested near this location.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM) 31 August 1994.

NR 381 676 This township, deserted in the 19th century, was surveyed by members of the Edinburgh University Archaeology Society in April 1994. An overall plan of the settlement, walls, field systems, etc in the immediate vicinity was produced, plus individual phased plans of the buildings and a photographic survey. A geological analysis of the building stones was undertaken by Nigel Ruckley.

There are two clusters of buildings approximately 250m apart, here named W Sean-ghairt (WSG) and E Sean-ghairt (ESG). In both, the buildings are arranged around an open space or yard, and there are enclosures - stack-yards? - along the bottom of the settled areas. A notable difference between ESG and WSG is the alignment of their buildings, in the former pointing down the slope (southwards) but in the latter lying broadly sidewards to it. In between the two clusters there is a small corn-drying kiln and several quarry pits.

There was little evidence to distinguish living quarters from byres, barns, etc. The walls of the buildings range from barely detectable turf-covered lumps to 2m in height. There was no evidence for chimneys in the gable walls, lime mortar or roof slates. Clay mortar was used in some of the buildings, and also large quarry dressed blocks of dolomite as quoins. At ESG large boulders and blocks were often used orthostatically, especially in the yard walls connecting the houses.

A copy of the full report is available from the Department of Archaeology, Edinburgh University. The original drawings, notes, photographs, etc, will form part of the Finlaggan Site Archive.

Sponsors: NMS, The Russell Trust

M Lutzker 1994.


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