Traces of Post-Medieval Life on the Isle of Skye

dGPS surveyIn February 2017, AOC’s Inverness office undertook a desk based assessment and a walkover and measured survey of a post-medieval settlement at Runicaleach on Skye. The desk based assessment identified remnants of post-medieval archaeology evident in the wider landscape but the only site within the development area was the Runicaleach township.

Runicaleach township was located in what is now commercial forestry land at the southeast end of the Isle of Skye in the parish of Strath, on the east coast overlooking the Kyle Rhea, a narrow strait of water separating the island from the Scottish west coast mainland. The site consisted of pockets of ruinous settlement structures and associated buildings located around the southeast end of the Allt Eas nam Muc within forested land to the north of Kylerhea.

Rig & furrow

The survey was undertaken by Mary and Cathy over two days. The walkover area was situated on the eastward facing slopes of Beinn na Caillich, a peak on the larger mountain Sgurr na Coinneach. Commercial coniferous forestry covered the settlement in part, and the surrounding landscape comprised rolling hills and burns that led eastwards down into the narrow straits of Kyle Rhea.

During the course of the survey evidence of c. 25 structures and a number of boundary banks, field systems and rig and furrow cultivation were identified and recorded. The recording involved detailed plans of the structures, field boundaries and areas of rig and furrow cultivation to map out the landscape the settlement was situated in, this was primarily done using a dGPS. Each structure was photographed and sketched, written dimensions and descriptions were taken to ensure a detailed record could be produced for every element of the landscape.

Survey at RunicaleachBack in the office this data was compiled and analysed to present detailed measured plans of the sites and written up into a report. This information will now be easily accessed to inform future felling operations and forestry work.

The weather and the conditions underfoot were at times challenging but the views more than made up for it!

AOC carried out the work at Runicaleach on behalf of Forest Enterprise Scotland. Our report can be obtained from FES on request.