Announcing ‘Archaeology Awakened’

Project Officer Samantha Ferrer summarises Sònraichte and discusses the aims of our latest project

Welcome to Archaeology Awakened, the new project from Museum nan Eilean, which has been funded by Museum Galleries Scotland. As a natural continuation of Sonràichte, this project will make even more of the archaeological collections accessible to staff, researchers and the public by improving their management and knowledge.

Boxes from the Loch na Beirgh archaeological assemblage

Why Archaeology Awakened?

Museum nan Eilean is the archaeological repository of the Outer Hebrides, holding a vast range of assemblages from various sites across the islands. The archaeology collections receive the most enquiries from the public and researchers. Our long-term aim is to make these collections and their associated information more accessible.

A summary of the Sònraichte Project

During Sònraichte, we were able to catalogue a myriad of assemblages. The first assemblage tackled was from the stack sites of Dun Arnistean, Dunasbroc, Eilean nan Luchruban, Stac a Chaisteal, Stac Dimhuill Chaim, and Stac Mor Garrabost: a great selection of Neolithic and Iron Age pottery and lithics. The second assemblage was the Iron Age brochs of Dunan Ruadh and Bagh Ban in Pabbay. The third was the Bronze Age burial of Ensay, Manish Strand. The fourth takes us to the Iron Age again with Dun Bharabhat in Cnip. The fifth assemblage came from the Shiant Isles excavations and contained mostly post medieval to 20th century artefacts. The sixth was the mysterious site of An Dunan in Uig, where the nature of the site is still in discussion and up for interpretation. The seventh was the Ashworth Collection, from the investigations of the Iron Age wheelhouse of Bagh Nam Feadhag in Grimsay and a selection of stray finds from Uist and Berneray. And the eighth and last assemblage was the 1980s excavation of St Kilda, giving us an insight into the isles just before their abandonment.

Iron Age Pottery from Loch na Beirgh

What can you expect from Archaeology Awakened?

This project will build on and take what we learned from Sònraichte by working with another important assemblage – Loch na Beirgh – one of the largest assemblages held at the museum, at 164 boxes. The project aims to catalogue and document the collection and share this learning with a broader public, academic and school audience through targeted presentations and workshops. There will be an improvement in management and knowledge of, and access to, the archaeology collections, but most importantly, the opportunity for you to experience the archaeology of the Western Isles.

This article was originally posted on our blog 3/10/22

Have a look at our video to find out more:

Project Officer Sam Ferrer with a bronze artefact from the Loch na Beirgh assemblage
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