Ancient Monuments

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Cave of Oars,souterrain 250m south east of Raasay House

A Scheduled Monument in Eilean á Chèo, Highland

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Latitude: 57.3519 / 57°21'6"N

Longitude: -6.0752 / 6°4'30"W

OS Eastings: 154957

OS Northings: 836391

OS Grid: NG549363

Mapcode National: GBR C9D9.01Q

Mapcode Global: WGZ8H.NG7T

Entry Name: Cave of Oars,souterrain 250m SE of Raasay House

Scheduled Date: 17 February 1993

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM5626

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: souterrain, earth-house

Location: Portree

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Eilean á Chèo

Traditional County: Inverness-shire


The monument consists of the remains of a souterrain, an artificial cave known as the "Cave of Oars" (Gaelic "Uamh nan Ramh").

The souterrain is situated above Churchton Bay, on parkland about 250m SE of Raasay House. It is formed by a cleft between two parallel rock outcrops with the intervening space roofed with stone slabs and compacted over with earth and turf. It was traditionally used for the safekeeping of oars used in galleys. It has recently been excavated having been used as a depositry for refuse for several centuries.

The linear passageway is aligned E-W and the E entrance is 1.2m wide and 1.8m high, the W opening is smaller, only 1m wide and 0.8m high. The passage is about 17m in length. Part of the central section of the slabbed roof has fallen (10m from the E entrance) and two of the slabs over the E entrance have been removed during excavation operations and now lie 2.6m to the SE of the E entrance. These slabs lie within the faintly discernible footings of a subrectangular building.

The area to be scheduled is rectangular, measuring a maximum of 20m NW-SE by 10m NE-SW, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as an example of a site of human activity and likely occupation, providing deposits which may help to fix the date of construction. It is likely to have been built at some time between the early and middle Iron Age, although it may have continued to be in use into later periods. The precise nature and chronology of the structure may be determined through a combination of historical research and archaeological investigation.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NG53NW 7.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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