New Finds from the High Pasture Cave site…..

Posted by steven on 03/08/2009 at 08:19 PM

We have had a steady trickle of finds at the High Pasture Cave site so far this year including some really nice and quite rare objects. Stone tools are the most common finds this year, as in previous years, and our total and variety so far exceeds all our expectations. Coarse pebble tools including hammers, pounders and grinders make up the majority of this class of find, while we have also recovered a significant number of saddle and rotary quern fragments, quern rubbers, miscellaneous querns, whetsones and palettes.

A fine granite quern rubber from Trench 15

A pebble grinder with wear just visible at the left end of the tool

This basalt pebble has been used at both ends - at the left end in this image as a grinder and at the right-hand end as a pounder

Some of the pebble tools we have recovered at the site display only minimal wear, such as the tool shown above (wear at left end of tool)

We have also recovered other objects manufactured from stone of various types, such as the palette shown below - manufactured from schist;

and this fine, although quite small, spindle whorl manufactured from Steatite or soapstone (see image below). We have recovered a total of 16 of these objects manufactured from soapstone at the site so far, some of which had been deposited in caches (within the cave) and around the hearth settings in the natural hollow outside the cave entrance. These objects were deposited on site between 750 and 500 BC.

We have also recovered the broken remains of several shale or cannel coal bracelet fragments and waste material relating to their manufacture. The item shown below may be a part of a broken bracelet, or a fragment of waste.

We have not recovered so many objects manufactured from bone and antler this year, but we have found several pins/needles, some of which have been broken (see image below).

It can be difficult to interpret some of the objects we find manufactured from these material including the item of antler shown above. The end of the object has been shaped slightly and it may never have been finished. The fine dress fastener or hair pin shown below, which has been manufactured from animal bone (most likely a red deer metapodia), was recovered from deposits abutting the stairwell in TRench 2.

The High Pasture Cave site has only produced a relatively small assemblage of ceramics, although they show great variety in the types of pot they represent. These include plain and decorated forms from the Late Bronze Age to Middle Iron Age periods.

Decorated rim sherd from the area around the head of the stairwell

Recently, we have also started to recover earlier decorated forms of pottery, including Beaker sherds, from the old plough soil horizon above the ard marks uncovered in Trench 19 (see last News entry for details of these features). We cannot be sure at the moment if the Beaker pottery is associated with possible structures at the site, or if the small sherds where manured onto the ground to improve drainage in the soil.

Small decorated Beaker sherd from Trench 19

Finally, we have also recovered objects manufactured from iron and bronze.

Fine bronze wire from Trench 15

The two halves of this fine bronze mount were recovered from two areas of Trench 15, although from the same context. The mount, which may have been attached to wood, has small rivet/nail holes around the edge and some simple decoration around the base

We have recovered several iron concretions from the site that require x-ray analysis to see what they may contain. However, this fine socketed iron gouge, a particularly rare find from Early Iron Age contexts (around 600 BC), was found by Kath Small in deposits immediately underlying the burnt mound/spreads in Trench 19. This image shows the find before conservation, as found on site (see image below).

Visit the website again soon to see how work is progressing at the High Pasture Cave and Fiskavaig rock shelter sites.....

Next entry: Latest Finds from the Fiskavaig Rock Shelter site

Previous entry: Finds Recovered from the Site during August 2008

Posted by Alasdair Munro & Flora Strachan on 06/08/2009 at 09:37 AM

Hi Folks,

It’s great to see all these artefacts being recovered from this exciting site.

We were up, er two years ago, when a stone depicting an eye was found and that was very interesting as similarly marked rocks have been seen around areas where Bronze & Iron Age Settlements have been believed to have existed around the Isle of Skye.

Keep Up the Good Work!

Alasdair & Flora

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