Scotland's Coastal Heritage at Risk

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Cnoc Sornain (8836)

Current Priority
2
East
77561
North
855413
Site Type
Mound And Coastal Section With Anthropogenic Deposits
Period
Indeterminate

A large mound situated on the coast edge has been cut into by the sea. The mound measures some 90m E-W by 70m N-S. It was probably originally circular in plan, but up to 10m of the seaward side has been lost to coastal erosion. Part of the SW side of the mound is likely to have been damaged when the present road was built, and subsequently at each new improvement of the road. A section, measuring some 120m long is now exposed. Prior to damage caused during the recent storms, anthropogenic deposits, together with traces of possible stonework, were noted in this exposure. These remains were not visible at the time of this survey due to the presence of slumped turf and accumulated sand. (Information supplied by R. McCullagh).

Update from visit by Access Archeology group 25/10/2014. The site in reasonable condition. a large expanse of midden deposits in exposed section on southern beach-side escarpment. around the mid point of this eroded escarpment there is a quantity of exposed masonry in a horizontal line which might be indicative of a structure eroding from the mound, although it seems stable currently.

ShoreUPDATE December 2015 The slope is currently mostly vegetated, with small patches of exposed face where stonework and midden is visible. Requires regular monitoring

Update 27th December 2015 - Vegetation more extensive than previous visits, but still midden areas visible in eroding sections together with random masonry and some organised possible wall sections. The beach now has self created a wide, flat shingle shelf, which offers a little protection currently, although such a structure might vanish overnight just as easily as it formed! The top of the mound is well covered and stable, although tantalising series of ridges and ditches are visible below the vegetation.

May 2016 Site is stable and well-vegetated with no sign of recent erosion. Midden material containing frequent limpet, some winkle, and occasional animal bone in a peat ash-rich matrix is visible towards the top of the mound at the south west end of the section. Three areas of drystone masonry are visible in the north side of the mound. Although the slope is very steep, and so is vulnerable to slippage and erosion, it is currently very well-vegetated and stable.

Condition and current recommendations:

Condition
Poor
Action
Visit - check condition; characterise site and obtain dating evidence ;
Survey site - using several techniques to characterise site ;
Excavate site - tapestery excavation

Over to you...

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Record 64 on map BB 3 in CZAS, Grimsay, Benbecula & South Uist (west), 2005

Other records:

NMRS
283496
SMR
MWE140686

ShoreUpdates

3 ShoreUpdates accepted and 0 pending.

Click on an update to expand it.

25th October, 2014 by Smilemaker
Survey Information
User:
Smilemaker
Date:
Oct. 25, 2014
Tidal state:
mid
Site located?:
Yes
Condition Information
Proximity to coast edge:
coast edge
Coastally eroding?:
active sea erosion; active wind erosion (in dunes only); has eroded in the past
Is there a coastal defence?:
no
Other threats?:
animal burrows
Description:

A large mound situated on the coast edge has been cut into by the sea. The mound measures some 90m E-W by 70m N-S. It was probably originally circular in plan, but up to 10m of the seaward side has been lost to coastal erosion. Part of the SW side of the mound is likely to have been damaged when the present road was built, and subsequently at each new improvement of the road. A section, measuring some 120m long is now exposed. Prior to damage caused during the recent storms, anthropogenic deposits, together with traces of possible stonework, were noted in this exposure. These remains were not visible at the time of this survey due to the presence of slumped turf and accumulated sand. (Information supplied by R. McCullagh).

Update from visit by Access Archaeology group 25/10/2014. The site in reasonable condition. A large expanse of midden deposits in exposed section on southern beach-side escarpment. Around the mid point of this eroded escarpment there is a quantity of exposed masonry in a horizontal line which might be indicative of a structure eroding from the mound, although it seems stable currently.

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:

There is a pronounced boundary ridge immediately to the north of the mound which partly encircle the northern section. This northern area has an uneven surface suggestive of subsurface structures and possible building platforms.

Access Archaeology will continue to monitor the site and report as appropriate.

Recommendations:

Keep under review. This coastline undergoes periodic erosion events, rather than a slow constant land loss. When these events do occur, they tend to be significant and potentially catastrophic. The mound itself is a significant structure and would probably be relatively easy to assess using non invasive geophysical survey. An informed decision to investigate further before the site might be lost can then be made.

Demote from priority 1 to priority 2

16th December, 2015 by EllieSCHARP
Survey Information
User:
EllieSCHARP
Date:
Dec. 16, 2015
Site located?:
Yes
Condition Information
Description:

A large mound situated on the coast edge has been cut into by the sea. The mound measures some 90m E-W by 70m N-S. It was probably originally circular in plan, but up to 10m of the seaward side has been lost to coastal erosion. Part of the SW side of the mound is likely to have been damaged when the present road was built, and subsequently at each new improvement of the road. A section, measuring some 120m long is now exposed. Prior to damage caused during the recent storms, anthropogenic deposits, together with traces of possible stonework, were noted in this exposure. These remains were not visible at the time of this survey due to the presence of slumped turf and accumulated sand. (Information supplied by R. McCullagh). Update from visit by Access Archeology group 25/10/2014. The site in reasonable condition. a large expanse of midden deposits in exposed section on southern beach-side escarpment. around the mid point of this eroded escarpment there is a quantity of exposed masonry in a horizontal line which might be indicative of a structure eroding from the mound, although it seems stable currently.

ShoreUPDATE December 2015 The slope is currently mostly vegetated, with small patches of exposed face where stonework and midden is visible. Requires regular monitoring

May 2016 Site is stable and well-vegetated with no sign of recent erosion. Midden material containing frequent limpet, some winkle, and occasional animal bone in a peat ash-rich matrix is visible towards the top of the mound at the south west end of the section. Three areas of drystone masonry are visible in the north side of the mound. Although the slope is very steep, and so is vulnerable to slippage and erosion, it is currently very well-vegetated and stable.

Management Information
Comments and recommendations
27th December, 2015 by Smilemaker
Survey Information
User:
Smilemaker
Date:
Dec. 27, 2015
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); has eroded in the past
Is there a coastal defence?:
no
Other threats?:
stock erosion; animal burrows
Description:

A large mound situated on the coast edge has been cut into by the sea. The mound measures some 90m E-W by 70m N-S. It was probably originally circular in plan, but up to 10m of the seaward side has been lost to coastal erosion. Part of the SW side of the mound is likely to have been damaged when the present road was built, and subsequently at each new improvement of the road. A section, measuring some 120m long is now exposed. Prior to damage caused during the recent storms, anthropogenic deposits, together with traces of possible stonework, were noted in this exposure. These remains were not visible at the time of this survey due to the presence of slumped turf and accumulated sand. (Information supplied by R. McCullagh).

Update from visit by Access Archeology group 25/10/2014. The site in reasonable condition. a large expanse of midden deposits in exposed section on southern beach-side escarpment. around the mid point of this eroded escarpment there is a quantity of exposed masonry in a horizontal line which might be indicative of a structure eroding from the mound, although it seems stable currently.

ShoreUPDATE December 2015 The slope is currently mostly vegetated, with small patches of exposed face where stonework and midden is visible. Requires regular monitoring

Update 27th December 2015 - Vegetation more extensive than previous visits, but still midden areas visible in eroding sections together with random masonry and some organised possible wall sections. The beach now has self created a wide, flat shingle shelf, which offers a little protection currently, although such a structure might vanish overnight just as easily as it formed! The top of the mound is well covered and stable, although tantalising series of ridges and ditches are visible below the vegetation.

Management Information
How visible are the remains? (above ground):
limited visibility (partial remains)
How visible are the remains? (in section):
limited visibility in section
How accessibile is the site?:
easily accessible- no restrictions; accessible on foot (footpath); vehicular access; accessible on foot (no footpath)
The site is:
is well known; has local associations/history
Comments and recommendations
Comments:

Some lovely sections of stratified midden deposits visible on exposed sections, although the vast majority of the dune face is currently stabilised with the vegetation.

Recommendations:

Ongoing regular assessments need to be made to establish what might erode from the dune face with the ongoing wind and storm damage