Kisimul, Isle of Barra part 2
Archaeology and prehistoric occupation
Castle, Midden, Gold lace tag, Craggan Ware pottery, Incised Ware pottery, Hearth, Animal bone, Organic material, Flint implement
Kisimul Castle; Barra; Outer Hebrides; Scotland; UK
Prehistoric, Neolithic, Iron Age, Middle Bronze Age, Late Bronze Age, Stuart
Kisimul Castle was taken into the guardianship of Historic Scotland in 2000 and, in order to inform any future works for its upkeep, a programme of archaeological evaluation, building recording and historical research was undertaken in 2001. Following on from this, a detailed programme of post-excavation analysis and research was conducted in 2011–12. The historical and architectural work has been published as Part 1 (Holden 2017). This Part 2 covers the archaeological work. While frustratingly little was revealed by the archaeology in terms of the construction of the castle, it did identify evidence for prehistoric as well as post-medieval occupation. The finds, including a significant quantity of craggan ware pottery and an exquisite gold lace tag, provide an evocative picture of life on the isle and its inhabitants.
Armit, I 1992 ‘The Hebridean Neolithic’, in Sharples, N & Sheridan, J A (eds) Vessels for the Ancestors, 307–21. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Armit, I 1996 The Archaeology of Skye and the Western Isles. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Armit, I & MacSween, A 1993 ‘Pottery’, in Crone, A ‘Excavations and survey of sub-peat features of Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Age date at Bharpa Carinish, North Uist, Scotland’, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 59: 370–5.
Ballin, T B 2006 ‘Re-examination of the Early Neolithic Pitchstone Bearing Assemblage from Auchategan, Argyll’, Lithics 27: 12–32.
Barber, J 2003 ‘Bronze Age farms and Iron Age farm mounds of the Outer Hebrides’, Scottish Archaeological Internet Reports 3 https://doi.org/10.5284/1017938.
Barclay, G & Ritchie, A 2010 ‘Artefactual, Environmental and Archaeological Evidence from the Holyrood Parliament Site Excavations’, Scottish Archaeological Internet Reports 40 https://doi.org/10.5284/1017938.
Barker, D & Crompton, S 2007 Slipware in the Collection of the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery. London: A & C Black.
Branigan, K & Foster, P (eds) 1995 Barra: Archaeological Research on the Tangaval Peninsula. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press (SEARCH).
Campbell, E 1997 ‘Pottery’, in Armit, I ‘Excavation of a post-medieval settlement at Druim nan Dearcag, and related sites around Loch Olabhat, North Uist’, Proc Soc Antiq Scot 127: 909–13.
Cheape, H 1988 ‘Food and Liquid Containers in the Hebrides: A Window on the Iron Age’, in Fenton, A & Myrdal, J (eds) Food and Drink and Travelling Accessories: Essays in Honour of Gösta Berg, 6–27. Edinburgh: John Donald Publishers Ltd in association with The National Museum of Scotland.
Cheape, H 1993 ‘Crogans and Barvas Ware: handmade pottery in the Hebrides’, Scottish Studies 31: 109–28.
Clark, J G D 1932 ‘The date of the plano-convex flint knife in England and Wales’, The Antiquaries Journal 12: 158–62.
Coleman, R & Photos-Jones, E 2008 ‘Early medieval settlement and ironworking in Dornoch, Sutherland: excavations at The Meadows Business Park’, Scottish Archaeological Internet Reports 28 https://doi.org/10.5284/1017938.
Cox, A 1998 ‘Artefacts’, in Hall, D W, MacDonald, A D S, Perry, D R & Terry, J ‘The archaeology of Elgin: excavations on Ladyhill and in the High Street, with an overview of the archaeology of the burgh’, Proc Soc Antiq Scot 128: 790–7.
Egan, G & Forsyth, H 1997 ‘Wound Wire and Silver Gilt: changing fashions in dress accessories c1400–c1600’, in Gaimster, D & Stamper, P (eds) The Age of Transition: The Archaeology of English Culture 1400–1600, 215–38. Oxford: Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph 15/Oxbow Mono-graph 98.
Ewart, G 2003 ‘Dundrennan Abbey: archaeological investigation within the south range of a Cistercian house in Kirkcudbrightshire (Dumfries & Galloway), Scotland’, Scottish Archaeological Internet Reports 1 https://doi.org/10.5284/1017938.
Foster, P J 1995 ‘Excavations at Allt Chrisal, 1989–1994’, in Branigan & Foster (eds), 49–160.
Franklin, J 2011 ‘Appendix 1 – Finds’, in Jones, E ‘Through the Cowgate: life in 15th-century Edinburgh as revealed by excavations at St Patrick’s Church’, Scottish Archaeological Internet Reports 42 https://doi.org/10.5284/1017938: 37–60.
Gibson, A 1995 ‘The Neolithic pottery from Allt Chrisal’, in Branigan & Foster (eds), 100–15.
Gilbertson, D D & Grattan, J 1995 ‘The environment of the Tangaval Penninsula: Physiography and the erosional status of cultural sites at the coast’, in Branigan & Foster (eds), 15–30.
Goodall, I H 1990 ‘Building Ironwork’, in Biddle, M (ed.) Object and Economy in Medieval Winchester (Oxford Winchester Studies 7ii), 328–49. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Haggarty, G 2006 A Gazetteer and Summary of French Pottery in Scotland c1150–c1650. Edinburgh: National Museums of Scotland.
Haggarty, G, Hall, D & Chenery, S 2011 Sourcing Scottish Redwares. Edinburgh: Medieval Pottery Research Group, Occasional Paper 5.
Harding, D W 2000 The Hebridean Iron Age: Twenty Years of Research. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh, Department of Archaeology, Occasional Papers Series No. 20.
Holden, T 2017 ‘Kisimul Castle, Isle of Barra. Part 1: The Castle of the MacNeills’, Proc Soc Antiq Scot 146: 181–213. https://doi.org/10.9750/PSAS.146.1219.
Holleyman, G A 1947 ‘Tiree Craggans’, Antiquity 21: 205–11.
Hurst, J G 1970 ‘Note’, in Turner & Dunbar, 184.
Hurst, J G, Neal, D S & van Beuningen, H J E 1986 Pottery Produced and Traded in North-West Europe 1350–1650 (Rotterdam Papers VI). Rotterdam: Het Nederlandse Gebruiksvoorwerp.
Lewis, M (ed.) 2012 ‘Report of the Portable Antiquities Scheme 2011’, Post-Medieval Archaeology 46.2: 320–32.
McHardy, I, Barrowman, C & MacLeod, M 2009 ‘The Severe Terrain Archaeological Campaign – investigation of stack sites of the Isle of Lewis 2003–2005’, Scottish Archaeological Internet Reports 36 https://doi.org/10.5284/1017938.
MacSween, A 2009 ‘Appendix 3: Report on the pottery with observations on Neolithic pottery from the Western Isles’, in McHardy, I, Barrowman, C & MacLeod, M, 113–24.
Margeson, S 1993 Norwich Households: The Medieval and Post-medieval Finds from Norwich Survey Excavations 1971–1978. Norwich: University of East Anglia, East Anglian Archaeology Report No. 58.
Morrison, S J L 2012 Kisimul Castle – Thin Section Micromorphology, unpublished report for Headland Archaeology Ltd, NMRS.
Mulville, J 2002 ‘The role of cetacea in prehistoric and historic Atlantic Scotland’, International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 12.1: 34–48.
PAS Database http://finds.org.uk/database. Accessed 20 September 2012.
Power, O 2012 The charred plant remains from Kisimul Castle, Isle of Barra, unpublished report for Headland Archaeology Ltd, NMRS.
Quail, G 1979 ‘Craggan ware’, Scottish Pottery Society News 4: 39–46.
Scott, L 1950–1 ‘Eilean an Tighe: A Pottery Workshop of the Second Millennium bc’, Proc Soc Antiq Scot 85: 1–37.
Squair, R H 1998 ‘The Neolithic of the Western Isles’, unpublished PhD thesis, University of Glasgow. http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.285026.
Tommasino-Suárez, C 2011 Report on the faunal remains from Kisimul Castle, Isle of Barra, unpublished report for Headland Archaeology Ltd, NMRS.
Topping, P G 1987 ‘Typology and chronology in the later Prehistoric pottery assemblages of the Western Isles’, Proc Soc Antiq Scot 117: 67–84.
Turnbull, J 2001 The Scottish Glass Industry 1610–1750 ‘To serve the whole nation with glass’. Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.
Turner, D J & Dunbar, J G 1970 ‘Breachacha Castle, Coll: Excavations and Field Survey, 1965–8’, Proc Soc Antiq Scot 102: 155–87.
Viollet-le-Duc, E c 1870 Encyclopédie médiévale (reprinted 1998). Paris: Bibliothèque de l’image.
Walker, T 2012 Kisimul Castle mollusc assess-ment, unpublished report for Headland Archaeology Ltd, NMRS.
White, H M & Connell, C 2010 ‘Excavations on the Site of Balmerino House, Constitution Street, Leith’, Scottish Archaeological Internet Reports 41 https://doi.org/10.5284/1017938.
Willmott, H 2002 Early Post-Medieval Vessel Glass in England c1500–1670. York: Council for British Archaeology, Research Report 132.
Woodman, P, Finlay, N & Anderson, E 2006 The Archaeology of a Collection: The Keiller – Knowles Collection of the National Museum of Ireland. Wicklow: Wordwell.
Young, A 1955–6 ‘Excavations at Dun Cuier, Isle of Barra, Outer Hebrides’, Proc Soc Antiq Scot 89: 290–328.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.