The Calanais Fields Project: Excavation of a Prehistoric Sub-Peat Field System at Calanais, Isle of Lewis, 1999–2000

Author(s): Melanie Johnson, Catherine Flitcroft and Lucy Verrill

Contributors: Mhairi Hastie, Anthony Newton, Adrian Tams and Graeme Warren

Summary: Excavations at Calanais, Isle of Lewis in 1999 and 2000, through the University of Edinburgh, revealed fragments of a prehistoric field system buried beneath blanket peat. Stone structures including buildings, walls, clearance cairns and heaps and cobbled surfaces were identified and excavated. Environmental analyses indicate that these features, associated with a buried soil, represent prehistoric farming activity, and radiocarbon determinations indicate that they are likely to be no later than Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age in origin. This excavation is important as it is one of very few recent prehistoric excavations in the Hebrides on the blacklands instead of machair, in addition to showing evidence for an agricultural landscape in close proximity to a major ritual monument (Calanais Standing Stones).

Location: Calanais, Isle of Lewis, Western Isles 

Period(s): Late Bronze Age

Keywords: Sub-peat, Late Bronze Age, pollen, field system

Published: 25-03-2021

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