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Swainbost (3291)

Current Priority
1
East
150584
North
963760
Site Type
Iron Working Site
Period
Medieval

Same as site 3750

The remains of an iron-working complex are visible in an erosion hollow, including furnace bases, walling and midden material.

The southwest end of the base of a curving wall is exposed in an erosion hollow of c. 4m square in the dunes at Traigh Shuaineboist at Suainebost (Swainbost). A further stone structure abuts the west side of the wall. All the walls continue northwards into the section. The wall is associated with a lightly compacted layer of friable very dark brown/black organic sand containing charcoal and ash. It could be a former ground surface. The whole area is covered with shells and frequent pottery, bone, and iron slag, with occasional copper slag, and iron and copper fragments. The black deposits and archaeological material extend across the area enclosed by the walling and spreads southwards outside and beyond the wall until it peters out in the grass covered dune. A compacted black layer associated with frequent shell can be seen in the dune section for at least 10m west of the site. It is probably the same layer.

Finds recovered from the site include: iron slag and pottery of medieval to post-medieval date, animal bone, heat-cracked stone, quartz flakes, burnt flint, a stone pot lid, iron objects, shells, metal working debris, copper sheeting and a possible saddle quern.

Condition and current recommendations:

Condition
Site: Eroding/stable: Matrix: Eroding
Action
Visit - attempt to locate site and check condition ;
Survey site - using several techniques to characterise site ;
Excavate site - open area

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Record NB56SW 14 on map None in Coastal Erosion Assessment, Lewis, 1997

Other records:

NMRS
4430
SMR
MWE4430

ShoreUpdates

1 ShoreUpdate accepted and 0 pending.

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17th March, 2013 by training2
Survey Information
User:
training2
Date:
March 17, 2013
Tidal state:
mid
Site located?:
Yes
Condition Information
Proximity to coast edge:
coast edge
Coastally eroding?:
active wind erosion (in dunes only)
Is there a coastal defence?:
no
Other threats?:
water erosion (e.g. stream, etc)
Description:

The southwest end of the base of a curving wall is exposed in an erosion hollow of c. 4m square in the dunes at Traigh Shuaineboist at Suainebost (Swainbost. A further stone structure abuts the west side of the wall. All the walls continue northwards into the section. The wall is associated with a lightly compacted layer of friable very dark brown/black organic sand containing charcoal and ash. It could be a former ground surface. The whole area is covered with shells and frequent pottery, bone, and iron slag, with occasional copper slag, and iron and copper fragments. The black deposits and archaeological material extend across the area enclosed by the walling and spreads southwards outside and beyond the wall until it peters out in the grass covered dune. A compacted black layer associated with frequent shell can be seen in the dune section for at least 10m west of the site. It is probably the same layer.

Management Information
How visible are the remains? (above ground):
highly visible (substantial remains)
How visible are the remains? (in section):
clearly visible in section
How accessibile is the site?:
easily accessible- no restrictions
The site is:
is well known
Comments and recommendations
Comments:

The site location on Canmore (4430)and the Western Isles HER (467) is wrong.

Recommendations:

Limited geophysics and survey have been carried out on the site as part of the Ness Archaeological Survey, Guard 2007 (Guard Report no. 2378) and material has been collected from it as part of a Young Roots HLF project in 2007.

The site is highly vulnerable to wind erosion and damage by grazing cattle and visitor damage. Piles of finds on the site show that people know about it.

A possible burnt mound (New Site 12477) is located around 20m west of the metalworking site.

This is clearly a very interesting and potentially important archaeological area and would benefit from more detailed survey and evaluation excavation to characterise it properly.