The use of bone and antler at Foshigarry and Bac Mhic Connain, two Iron Age sites on North Uist, Western Isles
Bone, Tools Ornaments Working Debris, Whalebone Vertebral Disc, Objects
Foshigarry; Bac Mhic Connain; North Uist; Western Isles; Scotland; UK
The rich collections of bone and antler objects from Foshigarry and Bac Mhic Connain, two Iron Age wheelhouse complexes on North Uist, are analysed to determine the raw materials used (species and anatomical parts) and the production technology of artefact manufacture. Comparison is made with contemporary assemblages and a picture of the exploitation of animals on these sites attempted. A wide range of objects is represented in the assemblages, primarily tools, with a few ornaments. Working debris and part-finished objects are also identified, allowing some manufacturing processes to be determined in detail. The selection of raw materials shows an adaption to the local conditions (eg in the use of whale bone) and a clear appreciation of the functional value of different materials and bone types. Fresh examination identified some important, previously unrecognized objects, including a whale-bone vertebral disc with ogam-like decorations which had been used as a trial piece for an interlace pattern.