Scottish Genealogy

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Early signs of life on remote Scottish Island

If you wanted to get away from it all, then you couldn't get much further off the beaten track than the island of Boreray.  Mostly, there's not much there but the seabirds.

Situated over 65km west of the Scottish Outer Hebrides, the St Kildan island of Boreray was previously thought to have been uninhabited, but work by the National Trust for Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland [RCAHMS] have recently reported that they have discovered agricultural field systems, terraces for cultivating crops, and three possible settlement mounds.

They believe that some of these settlements could date as far back as the Iron Age.

RCAHMS surveyor Ian Parker said, “This is an incredibly significant find, which could change our understanding of the history of St Kilda. This new discovery shows that a farming community actually lived on Boreray, perhaps as long ago as the prehistoric period. The agricultural remains and settlement mounds give us a tantalising glimpse into the lives of those early inhabitants.”

Full details of the survey will soon be available on the RCAHMS Canmore database and further details of the finds can be viewed at the RCAHMS website.  More information about the St Kilda World Heritage site can be found at the National Trust for Scotland website.

Image: Tom Curtis /

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