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Lewis, Ardoil

Chess Piece(S)

Site Name Lewis, Ardoil

Classification Chess Piece(S)

Alternative Name(s) Uig Sands; Lewis Chessmen

Canmore ID 4058

Site Number NB03SW 5

NGR NB 042 323

NGR Description NB c.042 323

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Western Isles
  • Parish Uig
  • Former Region Western Isles Islands Area
  • Former District Western Isles
  • Former County Ross And Cromarty

Archaeology Notes

NB03SW 5 c.042 323

(Area: 042 323) Seventy-eight chessmen of walrus ivory fourteen ivory table-men or draught board pieces and a buckle were found in a small, subteranean stone building 'like an oven', which was uncovered in the spring of 1831, when the sea undermined and carried away a considerable portion of a sandbank in a wind swept gully in the sand at the SE base of Eornal (NB 041 324).

Though they are generally accepted as Scandinavian of the 12th century, Wilson argues in favour of their being Scottish-Norman of the same period, on the basis of their similarity to seals, sculptures etc. of that period. At least eight sets, none complete, were represented. Except for eleven chess-men, which are in National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland (NMAS), all the pieces, including the buckle, are in the British Museum (See NB03SW 6 - possibly associated structure)

D Wilson 1863; British Museum 1968.

Now no trace of the "oven-like" building and no further information.

Visited by OS (R L) 28 June 1969.


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