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St Kilda, Hirta, Village Bay, Ministry Of Defence Establishment

Military Base (20th Century)

Site Name St Kilda, Hirta, Village Bay, Ministry Of Defence Establishment

Classification Military Base (20th Century)

Canmore ID 75830

Site Number NF19NW 23

NGR NF 10292 99194

NGR Description Centred NF 10292 99194

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/75830

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

  • Council Western Isles
  • Parish Harris
  • Former Region Western Isles Islands Area
  • Former District Western Isles
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes

NF19NW 23 10292 99194

'In advance of MOD re-development of the army base, test trenches were dug around the compound (centred NF 102 991) to examine the state of stratigraphy. Most of the area had been seriously damaged during the 1957 'Hard Rock' landing, and by subsequent construction work.' Sponsors: National Trust for Scotland; Durham University.

N Emery 1990b.

Activities

Watching Brief (1990)

'In advance of MOD re-development of the army base, test trenches were dug around the compound (centred NF 102 991) to examine the state of stratigraphy. Most of the area had been seriously damaged during the 1957 'Hard Rock' landing, and by subsequent construction work.' Sponsors: National Trust for Scotland; Durham University.

N Emery 1990b.

Watching Brief (16 April 2010 - 13 September 2010)

A second watching brief was carried out during the excavation of a trench, c100m x 0.7m by 0.7–1.0m deep, relating to the insertion of heating ducts along the main

building of the military base on St Kilda. The majority of the trench was machine excavated under archaeological supervision, three areas were hand dug. Deposits found beneath a 200–400mm thick turf and topsoil layer largely consisted of redeposited rubble associated with the post- 1957 military base. A concentration of porcelain, tiles and frosted glass in the southern 15m perhaps indicates the site

of a washroom. The 1m deep top soils to the N of this may be undisturbed but are more likely to be similarly redeposited material from the construction of the present day military base. An undisturbed glacial deposit was observed 20m N

of this, underlying the soils. The last stretch of trench again consisted of redeposited rubble associated with the base. A third watching brief was undertaken during the excavation of a small section of pipe from the diesel storage

tanks to the LCL ramp. The pipe had been laid above ground, over redeposited material from the early stages of the creation of the fuel store and nothing of archaeological interest was recorded.

I McHardy 2010

Watching Brief (5 November 2014 - 20 November 2014)

NF 1028 9916 A watching brief was carried out, 5–20 November 2014, during test pitting at the QinetiQ base in Village Bay in advance of the redevelopment of the base. Four trenches were excavated, a maximum of 0.9m in width and 1.8m in length. Bedrock was encountered between 1.55m and 0.65m below the turf. No artefacts were recovered which could be definitely associated with occupation of the island before the evacuation

of 1930. However, in one trench, deep topsoil directly overlay natural levels and may represent arable land use of that period. The other trenches all produced substantial quantities of unworked, unmortared stone which probably derived from the demolition of part of the glebe wall, which was built after 1827 and reduced between 1957 and 1961, during the early

phases of the military base. Material from the demolition or refitting of ablutions, latrines and kitchen buildings of these early phases was recorded.

Report: The National Trust for Scotland

Funder: QinetiQ Ltd

Carol Knott – CK Archaeology

(Source: DES)

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