Staffin archaeological excavation: Day 1 Diary

Fo fòid na tìme’ – Staffin Community Trust and the UHI Archaeology Institute are holding a five-day archaeological excavation by Staffin Bay. The community-centred project, which will involve an 8-metre by 2-metre trench, 1x1m test pits and gephysics, will run from Wednesday, September 9 to Monday, September 14. Local volunteers are participating, school pupils will be involved and there is a community open day on Saturday. The site may date back 8,000 years to the Mesolithic era when Scotland was inhabited by hunter-gatherers who lived off the wild resources of the land and sea. The Trust would like to thank the Garafad township and Kilmuir Estate for their permission to hold the excavation. Below is a summary of the first day’s work in UHI’s Dan Lee’s Staffin project diary.


“A productive day at the site under warm sunshine started with a geophysical survey which aimed to record the structure prior to excavation. The UHI Archaeology Institute team (Dan and Tom Desaille) were joined by Dugald Ross, a director of SCT and owner of Staffin Museum, plus three local volunteers, Ella Liley from Portree and Anthony and Moira Forsyth from Roag. Local residents and visitors also dropped in on the site. An earth resistance survey of the structure was completed and showed the potential walls and softer deposits in the centre. A ground penetrating radar survey covered the central area and suggested a reasonable depth to these deposits. The data requires more processing. Magnetometry was unsuccessful due to very high background readings from the bedrock. A topographic survey, which can be used to show contours and produce a surface model, was completed for the structure and the area to the south. The excavation trench was laid out ready for digging to start in the morning. More resistance survey will also be undertaken to the south. Let’s hope the sun stays shining!”