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Traigh Na H'uamhag

Monastery (Period Unassigned)(Possible)

Site Name Traigh Na H'uamhag

Classification Monastery (Period Unassigned)(Possible)

Canmore ID 4951

Site Number NC46NW 4

NGR NC 4415 6599

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/4951

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

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Durness
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Sutherland
  • Former County Sutherland

Archaeology Notes

NC46NW 4 4415 6599

(NC 4415 6599) Over a natural arch is a causeway defended by two lines of boulders. On the promontory are two buildings - rectangular. The SW edge of the promontory may have been delimited by a wall.

Information from Dr C S Sandeman, Durness, 14 March 1967.

The promontory is approached by a natural causeway about 15ft wide over a natural arch. At the W end six boulders have been set upright in the earth. Sixteen feet to the E of the boulders the causeway is 9ft wide. On the promontory is a sub-rectangular structure, with a rectangular structure about 33ft to the E.

Information contained in letter and field notes from K Reid to OS 25 September 1978.

A cliff-girt promontory accessible from the landward side by a natural causeway over a natural arch. A line of earthfast angular boulders block the approach, and on the causeway itself an embedded, transverse slab may indicate a further blocking wall. On the promontory are footings of a rectangular structure measuring an estimated 8.5m by 5.0m within a wall 1.2m thick; a short distance to the E among rock outcrops are traces of a small, possibly circular structure. Along the SW side of the promontory and round the NW, stone showing in an eroded scarp indicates a skirting wall. It is unlikely that this is a fort in view of vulnerability from the NE where the cliffs give way to shelving rock. This could well be a monastic settlement and it may not be coincidental that a monastic site (NC46NW 5) is clearly viewed to the W.

Surveyed at 1:10,000.

Visited by OS (J M) 23 April 1980.

Activities

Trial Trench (30 April 2007 - 4 May 2007)

NC 4415 6599 Trial trenches were excavated from 30 April–4 May 2007 in two buildings on a promontory at Traigh na h’Uamhag, near Durness. The larger building proved to have a substantial, stone-built wall and a cobbled floor containing numerous fire-cracked stones. The smaller building had walls composed of large, upright boulders and well-built coursed masonry, with a carefully laid paved floor. The site had previously

been interpreted as a possible eremitic monastery of medieval date; however, birch charcoal from an occupation deposit in the larger building has produced a radiocarbon date of 370–100 BC at 95.4% probability (SUERC16336).

Archive to be deposited with RCAHMS. Report deposited with Highland Council SMR and RCAHMS.

Funder: Durness Development Group.

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