Historic Assynt Projects
Fire & Water
Fire and Water followed and focussed on the two periods which are less well represented in Assynt. A burnt mound at Stronchrubie proved to be a Bronze Age sweat lodge or bathing tank as expected. More surprisingly it had been re-used to heat water two thousand years later. Close to the old Kirk at Inchnadamph a small excavation at a moated site produced evidence of late medieval metal working but nothing to indicate when it had been created.
Archaeological sites in Assynt had been noted for over two hundred years, but there had been no recent attempt to check those records until the Hidden Lives project in 2009. Known sites within a few hundred metres of the main road network were checked out and recorded. The overall findings suggest that Assynt is particularly rich in sites from three periods.
Neolithic sites (4,000 - 2,500 BC) are mainly found in the limestone areas of the interior whereas the coast has a notable concentration from the Iron Age (500 BC - 500 AD) and extensive ruins from abandoned Clearance era settlements (1700 - 1820 AD) are in evidence throughout the parish. Much less survives from the Bronze Age(2,500 - 500 BC) and the Middle Ages (500 - 1700 AD).
Life and Death in Assynt
Life and Death in Assynt's Past was devised to excavate and consolidate one site from each of the three periods for which Assynt has extensive remains - Loch Borralan Chambered Cairn for the Neolithic, Clachtoll Broch for the Iron Age and a longhouse in the Glenleraig pre- clearance settlement. The cairn and long-house were fully investigated whereas work at the more complex broch was limited to the entrance area. All three sites produced surprises - quarried and worked stone of different colours used for dramatic effect at Borallan, charcoal dated to the last few decades BC amidst evidence of a catastrophic collapse at Clachtoll and Staffordshire cream-ware, wine bottles and complex hearth flues at Glenleraig