Prehistoric settlement in Durness
Cairns, Round House, Round Houses, Fort Souterrain, Settlement
Prehistoric, Neolithic, Early
A study in depth of a small, well-defined area in which monuments of Neolithic to EIA date are correlated with their physical background and a quantitative analysis is provided. The contrasting geological regions of Durness make it particularly suitable for such a pilot study. Detailed survey produced maps of solid and drift geology on which the field monuments, many hitherto unrecorded, were plotted. Early settlement concentrated markedly on the light soils of the limestone areas and avoided the inhospitable gneiss and quartzite almost entirely. The sandy soils were not used until EIA and then probably kept for grazing. There are two possible Neo and twelve BA cairns, and some ?field clearance heaps. EIA monuments include a promontory fort, souterrain, two duns and a round house. Numerous hut circles are discussed in detail. Appendices list the eighty-two ancient monuments of Durness and the round houses and "wags" of a much wider area (Outer Hebrides, Northern Isles and Caithness); correlation tables compare archaeological sites with physical features.