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Barra, Borve

Barrow (Viking), Inhumation (Viking), Standing Stone (Viking), Brooch(S) (Bronze)(Viking), Comb (Viking), Scabbard (Viking), Sword (Viking), Whetstone (Viking)

Site Name Barra, Borve

Classification Barrow (Viking), Inhumation (Viking), Standing Stone (Viking), Brooch(S) (Bronze)(Viking), Comb (Viking), Scabbard (Viking), Sword (Viking), Whetstone (Viking)

Alternative Name(s) Ardvonrig; Borgh

Canmore ID 9715

Site Number NF60SE 14

NGR NF 652 014

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/9715

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

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Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

NF60SE 14 centred on 652 014

A Viking grave mound, surmounted by a standing stone 7 ft high, was opened by Cdr Edge at Ardvonrig, Isle of Barra, in 1862. It contained the skeleton of an aged man, head to west, with an iron sword, remains of a scabbard, a shield boss and other remains of a shield, a whetstone, two bronze tortoise brooches dated to c. AD 800, a comb and other articles (in the British Museum: 1895, 6-13, 1-16).

A selection of these items, excluding the shield and sword, illustrated in Norges Historie (A Bugge 1910), evidently led Grieg (S Grieg 1940), to conclude that they belonged to a woman's grave, thus indicating a double burial of a man and woman.

H Shetelig (1954), suggested another Viking grave, based on a mistaken report by Greig which implied a third tortoise brooch in the British Museum. Other finds in the British Museum (1895, 6-13, 17-25) are '... from diggings in the sandy plain surrounding the tumulus': they include a bronze flat ring brooch with pin, bronze pins, silver finger ring, etc. (J Curle 1914 - gives the placename as 'Ardvouray', which is not very far removed from Ardvuran, centred NF 665 049. There is no evidence of the source of Curle's place-name)

J Anderson 1875 and 1883; R A Smith 1923; S Grieg 1940; A O Curle, M Olsen and H Shetelig 1954; A Bugge 1910; Information from British Museum accession register.

The name 'Ardvonrig' is a variation of 'Ardvouray' which applies to the peninsula of land between the west side of the main road at Borve and Borve Point. Commander Edge's excavation took place at or near the standing stones (NF60SE 10) (Information from Mr A MacDonald, Allasdale and Mr J T W Robbins, Castlebay), although the actual site of the excavation is not known and nothing was seen in the area to suggest it.

Visited by OS (W D J) 28 May 1965.

This is not a double burial, it is clean from Edge's description and an examination of the objects that the 'shield boss' is infact a pair of wool combs; and examination has shown the 'sword' to be a weaving sword. Ege's description of the low forehead' of the skull also supports the evidence that this is a woman's grave.

Information from Kate Gordon, 30 November 1977.

Activities

Field Visit (28 May 1965)

The name 'Ardvonrig' is a variation of 'Ardvouray' which applies to the peninsula of land between the west side of the main road at Borve and Borve Point. Commander Edge's excavation took place at or near the standing stones (NF60SE 10) (Information from Mr A MacDonald, Allasdale and Mr J T W Robbins, Castlebay), although the actual site of the excavation is not known and nothing was seen in the area to suggest it.

Visited by OS (W D J) 28 May 1965.

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