Excavations at Geirisclett chambered cairn, North Uist, Western Isles
Chambered Cairns, Burial Chamber, Artefacts, Burial, Palaeoenvironmental Studies, Beaker Funerary, Chambered Cairn
Geirisclett; North Uist; Uibhist a Tuath; Outer Hebrides; Na h-Eileanan Siar; Scotland; UK
This report describes the results of excavations undertaken within the burial chamber and entrance area of the chambered cairn at Geirisclett, North Uist, Western Isles in 1996–7. The chamber of this cairn had been investigated by Erskine Beveridge in the early years of the 20th century, and the work described here was conducted because of the threat of tidal scouring of any remains which had survived previous attention. The excavation revealed evidence of disturbed Neolithic and Beaker funerary deposits within the two compartments of the chamber, which on architectural grounds falls into Henshall’s Clyde group. The burial chamber appears to have been used over the same time period both by humans as a burial place and by otters as a holt. The application of palaeoenvironmental studies has allowed the formation processes of the deposits and artefacts in the chamber to be understood, permitting the character of the burial rites to be better appreciated. The past and present landscape setting of the chambered cairn is considered briefly. The excavations, post-excavation studies and publication of this report were funded by grants made by Historic Scotland.