Scotland's Coastal Heritage at Risk

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Sgirr Nam Portan (8915)

Current Priority
1
East
72313
North
827612
Site Type
Coastal Exposure With Anthropogenic Deposits
Period
Indeterminate

An old ground surface, comprising of anthropogenic deposits has been exposed in plan due to recent erosion. The exposure measures some 14m long by 3.5m wide. It is located on the foreshore between a rocky shelf and a sand and shingle beach and is inundated at high tide. The deposits contain inclusions of animal bone, including cattle bone and burnt or charred bone, shell (cockle, winkle and mussel), peat ash and a large amount of struck quartz. Two small metal objects were present but no pottery was noted. No trace was found of any deposits in the nearby cliff section, which stands some 9m behind this exposure. The level at which this exposure lies, however, is likely to be lower than the base of this section and thus it is probable that the deposits may extend inland below the level of the cliff. The cliff section stands over 1m high and comprises of wind blown sand deposits. These remains are being actively destroyed by the sea and it is recommended that the site be properly assessed without delay.

Update December 2015

The site is now far less extensive than it appeared to be at last year's update. It is not certain if this is due to erosion or from coverage of the site with wave borne light shingle.

The remaining area of exposure is no more than around 1-2 metres square and the surface is notable as containing much burnt material, some shall sherds of pottery and bone deposits, much of which appears to have been possibly butchered and burned. Loose on the surface was a large piece of bone which appears to be the remains of a cattle horn core.

Condition and current recommendations:

Condition
Poor
Action
Visit - check condition; characterise site and obtain dating evidence ;
Excavate site - test pitting

Over to you...

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Record 19 on map SU 5 in CZAS, Grimsay, Benbecula & South Uist (west), 2005

Other records:

NMRS
Unknown
SMR
MWE149951

ShoreUpdates

2 ShoreUpdates accepted and 0 pending.

Click on an update to expand it.

6th February, 2015 by Smilemaker
Survey Information
User:
Smilemaker
Date:
Feb. 6, 2015
Tidal state:
mid
Site located?:
Yes
Condition Information
Proximity to coast edge:
coast edge
Coastally eroding?:
active sea erosion
Is there a coastal defence?:
yes
Description:

An old ground surface, comprising of anthropogenic deposits has been exposed in plan due to recent erosion. The exposure measures some 14m long by 3.5m wide. It is located on the foreshore between a rocky shelf and a sand and shingle beach and is inundated at high tide. The deposits contain inclusions of animal bone, including cattle bone and burnt or charred bone, shell (cockle, winkle and mussel), peat ash and a large amount of struck quartz. Two small metal objects were present but no pottery was noted. No trace was found of any deposits in the nearby cliff section, which stands some 9m behind this exposure. The level at which this exposure lies, however, is likely to be lower than the base of this section and thus it is probable that the deposits may extend inland below the level of the cliff. The cliff section stands over 1m high and comprises of wind blown sand deposits. These remains are being actively destroyed by the sea and it is recommended that the site be properly assessed without delay.

Management Information
How visible are the remains? (above ground):
limited visibility (partial remains)
How visible are the remains? (in section):
not visible
How accessibile is the site?:
easily accessible- no restrictions
The site is:
don't know
Comments and recommendations
Comments:

site is still actively eroding. Far less remains than original photos and Coastal edge changed since current satellite photos suggest. Some exposed bone pieces, possibly carbonised were apparent together with a few teeth. Most of visible shells appear very recent and were not embedded in what little deposit remains.

Recommendations:

if anything is to be gained from the site it should be assessed by a professional archaeologist as soon as possible, as it is unlikely to survive very much longer.

13th December, 2015 by Smilemaker
Survey Information
User:
Smilemaker
Date:
Dec. 13, 2015
Condition Information
Coastally eroding?:
active sea erosion; has eroded in the past
Description:

An old ground surface, comprising of anthropogenic deposits has been exposed in plan due to recent erosion. The exposure measures some 14m long by 3.5m wide. It is located on the foreshore between a rocky shelf and a sand and shingle beach and is inundated at high tide. The deposits contain inclusions of animal bone, including cattle bone and burnt or charred bone, shell (cockle, winkle and mussel), peat ash and a large amount of struck quartz. Two small metal objects were present but no pottery was noted. No trace was found of any deposits in the nearby cliff section, which stands some 9m behind this exposure. The level at which this exposure lies, however, is likely to be lower than the base of this section and thus it is probable that the deposits may extend inland below the level of the cliff. The cliff section stands over 1m high and comprises of wind blown sand deposits. These remains are being actively destroyed by the sea and it is recommended that the site be properly assessed without delay.

Update December 2015

The site is now far less extensive than it appeared to be at last year's update. It is not certain if this is due to erosion or from coverage of the site with wave borne light shingle.

The remaining area of exposure is no more than around 1-2 metres square and the surface is notable as containing much burnt material, some shall sherds of pottery and bone deposits, much of which appears to have been possibly butchered and burned. Loose on the surface was a large piece of bone which appears to be the remains of a cattle horn core.

Management Information
How visible are the remains? (above ground):
limited visibility (partial remains)
How visible are the remains? (in section):
not visible
How accessibile is the site?:
easily accessible- no restrictions; accessible- difficult terrain; vehicular access; accessible on foot (no footpath)
The site is:
is not locally known
Comments and recommendations
Recommendations:

Carry on observing the site and see what more might be exposed in time, It is likely that there is considerably more of this site still hidden by the current ground level, and will, in time, be revealed. If any significant finds are made at the site, a decision to intervene can be made at that time.