Excavation of an Iron Age, Early Historic and medieval settlement and metalworking site at Eilean Olabhat, North Uist

Ian Armit (Author)

Ewan Campbell (Author)

Andrew Dunwell (Author)

Rupert Housley (Contributor)

Fraser Hunter (Contributor)

Adam Jackson (Contributor)

Melanie Johnson (Contributor)

Dawn McLaren (Contributor)

Jennifer Miller (Contributor)

K R Murdoch (Contributor)

Jennifer Thoms (Contributor)

Graeme Warren (Contributor)

Alan Braby (Contributor)

Craig Evenden (Contributor)

Libby Mulqueeny (Contributor)

Leeanne Whitelaw (Contributor)

Crucible, Settlement, Metalworking, Industrial, Loch Olabhat Research Project, enclosed settlement, workshop
Eilean Olabhat; North Uist; Outer Hebrides; Scotland; UK
Iron Age, Medieval, Early Historic


The promontory site of Eilean Olabhat, North Uist was excavated between 1986 and 1990 as part of
the Loch Olabhat Research Project. It was shown to be a complex enclosed settlement and industrial
site with several distinct episodes of occupation. The earliest remains comprise a small Iron Age
building dating to the middle centuries of the first millennium BC, which was modified on several
occasions prior to its abandonment. Much later, the Early Historic remains comprise a small
cellular building, latterly used as a small workshop within which fine bronze and silverwork was
produced in the fifth to seventh centuries AD. Evidence of this activity is represented by quantities
of mould and crucible fragments as well as tuyère and other industrial waste products. The site
subsequently fell into decay for a second time prior to its medieval reoccupation probably in the
14th to 16th centuries AD.

Eilean Olabhat has produced a well-stratified, though discontinuous, structural and artefactual
sequence from the mid-first millennium BC to the later second millennium AD, and has important
implications for ceramic development in the Western Isles over that period, as well as providing
significant evidence for the nature and social context of Early Historic metalworking.


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How to Cite
Armit, I., Campbell, E., Dunwell, A., Housley, R., Hunter, F., Jackson, A., Johnson, M., McLaren, D., Miller, J., Murdoch, K. R., Thoms, J., Warren, G., Braby, A., Evenden, C., Mulqueeny, L., & Whitelaw, L. (2009). Excavation of an Iron Age, Early Historic and medieval settlement and metalworking site at Eilean Olabhat, North Uist. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 138, 27-104. https://doi.org/10.9750/PSAS.138.27.104

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