About the Cave

Uamh an Ard Achadh (High Pasture Cave) is a limestone cave situated 1.25km south east of the village of Torrin on the island of Skye.  In May 2002, Steven Birch, during a routine visit to the cave, discovered disturbed archaeological deposits in an abandoned high-level fossil passage.  The material had been cast aside as spoil by visiting cavers, who were attempting to excavate a boulder choke in order to gain new passage in the cave system.  The archaeological material included a significant amount of animal bone, shellfish remains, charcoal, fire-cracked pebbles, coarse pebble tools and pottery sherds.  During previous visits to the site, animal bone had been identified in the cave sealed beneath a layer of calcite.

Archaeological fieldwork at the cave site since the initial discovery has included a survey of the cave passages, the collection of material from the disturbed sediments and a detailed survey of surface features relating to the cave, including a geophysical survey.  These include a complex of structures of possible prehistoric date, which may be contemporary with the deposits identified in the cave.  Pottery sherds from the assemblage have been tentatively identified as from the Late Bronze Age/Iron Age period.  Trial excavations have also been conducted in Bone Passage and this work will continue through 2005.  Work is now underway to investigate the former entrance into Bone Passage, while additional trial trenches will be excavated to examine some of the other structures and geophysical targets that have been identified on the surface above the cave.

A preliminary assessment and analysis of the animal bones from the cave has identified pig, cattle and deer as the main species present, with those of pig (Sus scrofa) accounting for between 80 and 90% of the assemblage, an unusually high ratio for this species from Hebridean contexts.

Browse the articles in the panel on the right for more information about the cave.


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