Excavations

Research Questions

The project is interested in one central question: how have people lived in Swordle Bay through time?

This seemingly simple question raises a whole host of issues relating to the scale of archaeological interpretation, how we conceptualise long-term history, and the role for landscape as an agent within history alongside human beings. In addition the sites we excavate have a set of research questions linking them to national and international debates in archaeology and history.

CLADH AINDREIS
How was monumentality caught up in the transition to farming? When was the monument built? How did it change in shape and form through time? How were bodies treated within the tomb?
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RICKY’S CAIRN
How did the Bronze Age monument relate to its Neolithic counterpart? What were the roles for myth and memory in this? How was the body treated at this site? What does the presence of jet beads tell us about how Ardnamurchan was caught up in wide-ranging trade and exchange?
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DUN MHURCHAIDH
What was the Iron Age site of Dun Mhurchaidh used for? When was it used? How long was it in use for? How did its landscape location relate to the activities that took place there?
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VIKING BOAT BURIAL
Where did our Viking live? Was there any occupation in Swordle Bay at this time? Are there any other Viking burials nearby? What did he eat and where did he come from?
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SWORDLE CORRACH
When was the settlement of Swordle Corrach abandoned? What was life like in the run up to the Clearances? Did people invest in their houses immediately before they were expelled? If so, why?
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BRONZE AGE ENCLOSURE
What is the circular feature discovered by geophysical survey and when does it date to? Is it related to the cremation burial located nearby? What other features might be located in this area?

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COLDCAIRNS
What date is the clearance cairn located close to Swordle Corrach? Does it relate to the occupation here or to earlier practices?

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SURVEY
How can we locate new sites to dig? What different techniques are we employing in this process? How did the environment in Swordle Bay change through time?

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SWORDLE HUEL
When was the settlement of Swordle Huel built? Is there evidence here for Medieval occupation? If so, does this connect to other sites we have identified in the landscape? When was the settlement abandoned? What was its relationship to the other settlements in the Bay, Swordle Corrach and Swordle Mhor? Did the residents here experience the same lifeways as those at Swordle Corrach in the run up to the Clearances? Was there a comparable nineteenth century investment in the structures here immediately before the Clearances?

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