Most recent entries
- Excavations at High Pasture Cave and trial trenching of roundhouses in the wider landscape………
- Excavation News from the High Pasture Cave site
- Fieldwork progressing well at the High Pasture Cave site…..
- End of the 2009 Fieldwork seasons at High Pasture Cave and the Fiskavaig Rock Shelter
- . News Update from Excavations at the Fiskavaig Rock Shelter, Skye…..
- Prehistoric Ard Marks Uncovered at the High Pasture Cave site…..
- Great weather and good progress at the High Pasture Cave site…..
- High Pasture Cave Excavations - 2009
- First phase of the 2009 excavations completed at the Fiskavaig rock shelter…..
- Fiskavaig Rock Shelter 2009 - Excavations Underway…..
- Late finish to the excavation season at the Fiskavaig Rock Shelter site….
- Excavations Resume at Cave of the Speckled Horses, Fiskavaig
- Laser Scanning at High Pasture Cave
- Closure of the High Pasture Cave site for 2008
- Get all of the latest news from the trenches for August 2008
- August 2010
- July 2010
- December 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- May 2009
- April 2009
- March 2009
- October 2008
- September 2008
- August 2008
- July 2008
- June 2008
- May 2008
- April 2008
- November 2007
- September 2007
- July 2007
- June 2007
- May 2007
- November 2006
- October 2006
- September 2006
- August 2006
- July 2006
- June 2006
- May 2006
- April 2006
- March 2006
- February 2006
- November 2005
- October 2005
- September 2005
- August 2005
- July 2005
- June 2005
- May 2005
- April 2005
- March 2005
- February 2005
High Pasture Cave Project Open Days
Posted by steven on 10/09/2006 at 10:00 AM
Visit the latest News Page to find out about the planned Open Days at the High Pasture’s site, which will be run throughout Highland Archaeology Fortnight (HAF), and for updates on fieldwork at the site.....
High Pasture Cave Project Open Days
The Project Team will be running a series of Open Days at the High Pasture’s site from Monday 2nd through to Saturday 14th October 2006, which will form a part of the Highland Archaeology Fortnight (see leaflets and booklets advertising this event at your local libraries and Highland Council Service Points). Discover how archaeology can enhance our understanding of the prehistory through excavation and craft reconstructions. Guided tours of the excavations and on-site displays will provide a background to the archaeological fieldwork, while Highland Council Ranger-led guided walks will explore the wider natural and archaeological landscapes. The Highland Council Rangers will also be hosting activity days at the site targeting a younger audience, in which children (or adults) can have a go at jewellery-making, pottery and other crafts, with face painting for the more adventurous!
John and Val Lord, who will be demonstrating prehistoric skills and crafts at the High Pasture Cave site
The highlight of what should be a very exciting few days will be a visit from John and Val Lord, who will be demonstrating various crafts and skills from prehistory including flint knapping, antler and bone work, and cordage manufacture. John and Val are known throughout the UK for their excellent displays and their days on site should be a treat for children and adults alike. So be sure to come along and savour the experience. Depending on the weather conditions events may change and vary slightly however, we will have a small marquee on site in which activities can take place in the dry. The basic timetable of events is as follows:
Monday 2nd to Saturday 14th October - Site excavations, guided tours and on-site displays
Thursday 5th to Monday 9th October - Prehistoric crafts and skills with John and Val Lord
4th and 11th October - Highland Council Ranger-led walks
7th, 11th, 12th and 13th October - ‘Iron Age Crafts for Kids at the Cave’ with the Highland Council Rangers (John Phillips and Sarah Kay)
John and Sarah can be contacted for further details regarding the guided walks and childrens events on 01471 822774, while John and Val Lord’s web pages can be found at http://www.flintknapping.co.uk
A visitor to the Open Day’s held at the High Pasture’s site in October 2005
Steven Birch, Co-Director of the High Pasture’s site, will also be presenting illustrated talks on the project throughout Scotland on the following dates:
06/09/2006 - St. Magnus Centre, Kirkwall, Orkney - High Pasture Cave: Entrance to the Iron Age Underworld
13/10/2006 - Columba 1400 Centre, Staffin, Skye - Investigating the Prehistory of Skye - Recent Archaeological Fieldwork (University of Aberdeen Evening Lecture Programme).
14/10/2006 - Ramada Jarvis Hotel, Inverness - High Pasture Cave & Environs Project - Recent Developments. This lecture is within the programme of talks planned for the What’s New in Highland Archaeology Seminar, which will take place in Inverness over the 14th and 15th October.
27/10/2006 - Elgol & Torrin Historical Society (Elgol Village Hall) - High Pasture Cave: Entrance to the Iron Age Underworld
08/12/2006 - Day Care Centre, Raasay - High Pasture Cave: Portal to the Iron Age Underworld (University of Aberdeen Evening Lecture Porgramme)
06/02/2007 - Dunvegan W.I., Old School House, Dunvegan - High Pasture Cave Project - Recent Developments
12/03/2007 - Lecture Theatre, National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh - Ritualising the Domestic: The Excavation of an Iron Age Shrine at High Pasture Cave, Skye (Lecture to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland)
13/03/2007 - Marishcal Museum, University of Aberdeen - Ritualising the Domestic: The Excavation of an Iron Age Shrine at High Pasture Cave, Skye (Lecture to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland - North-East Branch)
Meanwhile, fieldwork at the High Pasture Cave site has made some good progress, finishing the excavations in Trenches 6, 7 and 10.
Trenches 7 and 10
Trench 10, which was set out to investigate a potential buried wall for the ‘roundhouse’ feature, has now been excavated down to the natural clay. No wall was found in this trench. What we did find was a haphazard pile of granite boulders covering a fairly clean brown soil, which had formed over the top of a thin, but compact layer of fire-cracked stone and pebbles. Below this layer was more clean brown sediment, which lay directly on top of the natural karstic clay. This had a few outcrops of natural limestone bedrock showing through and within the clay we noticed several potential cut features that had been filled with a darker sediment. On excavation most of these turned out to be natural hollows filled with the overlying sediment and rat tunnels, but the excavation of one feature revealed a fairly deep pit that had been cut into the clay. The pit contained a fill of mixed sediments containing small flecks of charcoal, but no finds. However, the charcoal recovered from the pit will allow radiocarbon submissions to be made, and this should provide dates for this feature.
The sectioned pit feature in Trench 10, showing the fill of darker-coloured sediments (Scale=1m)
A view of the east-facing section of Trench 10. The image clearly shows the lack of any constructional features relating to the potential roundhouse originally identified in this part of the site (Scale=1m)
Plan of the core area of the High Pasture’s site showing the approximate locations of the trenches excavated so far
Although no finds were recovered from the pit feature, George Kozikowski did find a small sherd of pottery from a shallow scoop feature in the trench. The fabric and quality of the pottery was quite different to the more usual ceramic assemblage recovered from High Pasture’s, and may relate to the use of the site during an earlier period of prehistory.
Trench 6 has now been excavated down to the natural limestone floor. When we first started excavating the trench in 2005 access was on hands and knees in this sector of Bone Passage, but now there is ample room to stand upright.
Martin standing on the limestone bedrock floor of Bone Passage, with the stairwell entrance behind
The excavation of the lower archaeological deposits continued to produce a wealth of small finds including spindle whorls, bone pins and coarse stone tools, many of which were located in close proximity to the bottom two steps of the entrance stairwell. Animal bone and burnt bone was also recovered, but as we excavated deeper down towards the limestone floor washed gravels and cobbles were exposed, which appeared more natural in origin. A small alcove under the southwest wall of the cave passage at floor level was filled with these natural-looking deposits, but we continued to find a few small fragments of bone. However, the most exciting finds from the alcove were two small sherds of pottery, both of which showed some chevron/lozenge-style decoration. The pottery was well-fired and had been blackened by the natural deposits in which they were found. These ceramics, like those found in the shallow scoop feature in Trench 10 mentioned above, appear to be from earlier prehistory and could be Early Bronze Age or Neolithic in date. If so, then we may have evidence for the use of the cave some 3500 to 5000 years ago. Like the other materials recovered from the site, the pottery will be analysed by specialists who should be able to identify the material with more certainty.
The image above shows the lower archaeological deposits in Trench 6 and the bottom steps of the stairwell. Animal bone is littered across the surface of this context, while the large item near the scale (scale=0.25m) is a granite quern rubber. The image below shows the bottom steps of the stairwell after excavation. A significant number of small finds were recovered from this liminal location in the cave, where the man-made stairwell meets the natural cave (scale=1m).
Details of the finds mentioned in this site entry can be found in the Latest Finds page. The material includes several objects made of steatite or soapstone. Work at the site will now focus on Trench 11, a new trench to investigate the U-shaped structure that dominates the core area of the site, and on excavating trial trenches to investigate anomalies identified through the recent geophysical surveys. Therefore, site volunteers are still required to assist the project team with this work.
Previous entry: Natural floor of the cave uncovered in Bone Passage