Scotland's Coastal Heritage at Risk

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Barvas (3130)

Current Priority
2
East
134910
North
951880
Site Type
Settlement
Period
Prehistoric

This is the main record for the wider area of the Barabhas archaeological site. An area of stone structures and associated midden deposits. The area has been excavated intermittently between 1976 and 2001 revealing an extensive archaeological landscape dating from the Early Bronze Age to the Norse period. Evidence for multiple phases of occupation and rebuilding of the structures was found, with a Beaker settlement and a Viking / Norse settlement. The site has also been used as a burial ground with crouched inhumations, cremation burials dated to the Iron Age, and an extended inhumation dated to the Middle Iron Age. Finds recovered from the area include animal bones, flint and quartz tools, metal working debris, pottery, a saddle quern and a brooch. Although most of the finds are prehistoric in date (including Beaker pottery and Iron Age pottery) the brooch is medieval. Summary published 2010 (https://www.eaglehill.us/JONAonline/articles/JONA-Sp-9/16-MacLeod.shtml) SAIR report forthcoming (2017). Coastal surveys 2013-2015 identified a number of features visible in the eroding coast edge, including a deposit containing fire cracked stone, a group of pits filled with stone, a possible old ground surface of black sand, and a burnt horizon containing peat ash associated with possible dry stone walling (site records 12469, 12470, 12471, 3139). The sites in the machair hinterland have been investigated and publication is forthcoming. On the date of the last ShoreUPDATE survey, the machair appeared to be generally stable and vegetated, but this is subject to change and the landscape remains vulnerable to Aeolian erosion, and the coast edge is suffering from erosion. Given the known significance of this extensive archaeological landscape and its ongoing vulnerability to coastal and Aeolian erosion, the area should be assigned priority 2.

Condition and current recommendations:

Condition
Site: Eroding: Matrix: Eroding
Action
Visit - check condition; characterise site and obtain dating evidence ;
Survey site - using several techniques to characterise site ;
Develop management plan with landowner and heritage agency

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Record NB 3491 5188c on map in Coastal Erosion Assessment, Lewis, 1997

Other records:

NMRS
4271
SMR
MWE4271

ShoreUpdates

1 ShoreUpdate accepted and 0 pending.

Click on an update to expand it.

17th March, 2013 by training1
Survey Information
User:
training1
Date:
March 17, 2013
Tidal state:
low
Site located?:
Yes
Condition Information
Proximity to coast edge:
coast edge
Coastally eroding?:
active sea erosion; active wind erosion (in dunes only)
Is there a coastal defence?:
no
Other threats?:
sand/shingle extraction
Description:

This is the main record for the wider area of the Barabhas archaeological site. An area of stone structures and associated midden deposits. The area has been excavated intermittently between 1976 and 2001 revealing an extensive archaeological landscape dating from the Early Bronze Age to the Norse period. Evidence for multiple phases of occupation and rebuilding of the structures was found, with a Beaker settlement and a Viking / Norse settlement. The site has also been used as a burial ground with crouched inhumations, cremation burials dated to the Iron Age, and an extended inhumation dated to the Middle Iron Age. Finds recovered from the area include animal bones, flint and quartz tools, metal working debris, pottery, a saddle quern and a brooch. Although most of the finds are prehistoric in date (including Beaker pottery and Iron Age pottery) the brooch is medieval. Summary published 2010 (https://www.eaglehill.us/JONAonline/articles/JONA-Sp-9/16-MacLeod.shtml) SAIR report forthcoming (2017). Coastal surveys 2013-2015 identified a number of features visible in the eroding coast edge, including a deposit containing fire cracked stone, a group of pits filled with stone, a possible old ground surface of black sand, and a burnt horizon containing peat ash associated with possible dry stone walling (site records 12469, 12470, 12471, 3139). The sites in the machair hinterland have been investigated and publication is forthcoming. On the date of the last ShoreUPDATE survey, the machair appeared to be generally stable and vegetated, but this is subject to change and the landscape remains vulnerable to Aeolian erosion, and the coast edge is suffering from erosion. Given the known significance of this extensive archaeological landscape and its ongoing vulnerability to coastal and Aeolian erosion, the area should be assigned priority 2.

Management Information
How accessibile is the site?:
easily accessible- no restrictions
The site is:
is well known; is well visited; has local associations/history
Comments and recommendations
Recommendations:

Assign priority 2 to wider archaeological landscape