Scotland's Coastal Heritage at Risk

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North Uist, Callernish, Sithean Mor; Calarnais (9306)

Current Priority
2
East
74910
North
876590
Site Type
Mound; Middens; Souterrain (Possible); Pottery; Cairn (Possible)
Period
1st millennium BC - 5th C AD

Sithean Mor, a grass-covered heap of sand 30m by 20m and 3.6 to 14m high upon the outer extremity of Callernish and close to the shore at the west entrance of Vallay Sound. A cutting from N to S revealed a kitchen-midden reaching a maximum thickness of 0.6m, apparently confined to the east end of the mound. Underneath there was a solid mass of fine windblown sand. Beveridge suggests that its existence may be due to some original cairn having served as a nucleus. Finds included pottery, a few hammer-stones and a sharpening-stone. Further kitchen-midden remains lie on level and cultivated ground immediately to the south. A sherd of pottery, a flint and burials have been found at this south edge. 1911 Sithean Mor, a grass-covered sandy mound, 22.0m N-S by 36.0m transversely and c. 2.5m high, shows no sign of antiquity, and no middens were seen in the vicinity. Visited 1965.
Square-facetted or bramble-headed pin, found in an earth-house, 1973. There are definite signs of midden material within this mound. The S side of the mound has been eroded away and animal bone, shell and pottery were found within this area. The pottery has been tentatively dated to the Iron Age.

December 2015

The erosion on this site is related to rabbit burrows, livestock and wind and although the original extent of coastal erosion reported is not understood, at present it doesn't seem to pose a particular threat. Although the coastline some 40m to the north of the site is very exposed, and the topsoil overburden shows some signs of erosion (see image), it is founded on bedrock and the site located several metres above max HWS. However, wind erosion exacerbated by animal burrowing and stock erosion are causing damage.

Condition and current recommendations:

Condition
Eroding
Action
Visit - check condition; characterise site and obtain dating evidence ;
Survey site - using several techniques to characterise site

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Record 334 on map 7 in CZAS, North Uist (west), 2005

Other records:

NMRS
10070
SMR
MWE10070

ShoreUpdates

1 ShoreUpdate accepted and 0 pending.

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3rd December, 2015 by DavidNewman
Survey Information
User:
DavidNewman
Date:
Dec. 3, 2015
Tidal state:
mid
Site located?:
Yes
Condition Information
Proximity to coast edge:
11-50m
Coastally eroding?:
active wind erosion (in dunes only)
Is there a coastal defence?:
no
Other threats?:
stock erosion; animal burrows
Description:

Sithean Mor, a grass-covered heap of sand 30m by 20m and 3.6 to 14m high upon the outer extremity of Callernish and close to the shore at the west entrance of Vallay Sound. A cutting from N to S revealed a kitchen-midden reaching a maximum thickness of 0.6m, apparently confined to the east end of the mound. Underneath there was a solid mass of fine windblown sand. Beveridge suggests that its existence may be due to some original cairn having served as a nucleus. Finds included pottery, a few hammer-stones and a sharpening-stone. Further kitchen-midden remains lie on level and cultivated ground immediately to the south. A sherd of pottery, a flint and burials have been found at this south edge. 1911 Sithean Mor, a grass-covered sandy mound, 22.0m N-S by 36.0m transversely and c. 2.5m high, shows no sign of antiquity, and no middens were seen in the vicinity. Visited 1965.
Square-facetted or bramble-headed pin, found in an earth-house, 1973. There are definite signs of midden material within this mound. The S side of the mound has been eroded away and animal bone, shell and pottery were found within this area. The pottery has been tentatively dated to the Iron Age.

December 2015

The erosion on this site is related to rabbit burrows, livestock and wind and although the original extent of coastal erosion reported is not understood, at present it doesn't seem to pose a particular threat. Although the coastline some 40m to the north of the site is very exposed, and the topsoil overburden shows some signs of erosion (see image), it is founded on bedrock and the site located several metres above max HWS. However, wind erosion exacerbated by animal burrowing and stock erosion are causing damage.

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?:
accessible on foot (no footpath)
The site is:
is not locally known
Comments and recommendations
Recommendations:

Retain priority. Monitor regularly. More detailed survey.