Ancient Monuments

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Scalavat,souterrain and settlement,Usinish

A Scheduled Monument in Barraigh, Bhatarsaigh, Eirisgeigh agus Uibhist a Deas, Na h-Eileanan Siar

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Latitude: 57.2875 / 57°17'15"N

Longitude: -7.2325 / 7°13'57"W

OS Eastings: 84863

OS Northings: 834001

OS Grid: NF848340

Mapcode National: GBR 89JG.B24

Mapcode Global: WGW4X.W344

Entry Name: Scalavat,souterrain and settlement,Usinish

Scheduled Date: 16 November 1993

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM5801

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: souterrain, earth-house; Secular: settlement, including deserted

Location: South Uist

County: Na h-Eileanan Siar

Electoral Ward: Barraigh, Bhatarsaigh, Eirisgeigh agus Uibhist a Deas

Traditional County: Inverness-shire


The monument consists of a souterrain beneath a ruined structure, apparently the ruins of a prehistoric settlement, and, in the area around this mound, the remains of a late-Medieval farming settlement.

The souterrain is not easily located, and is now almost inaccessible, but is recorded as some 13m long, entered from a very low and narrow doorway with a steeply downward-sloping passage giving access to a small chamber, beyond which the main chamber opens out, some 2.6m high and 3m by 2.5m on plan. The chamber is corbelled. Beyond it there is a further passage leading to an inner chamber, obscured by collapse. The slight mound below which the souterrain is set has escaped the notice of earlier investigators. It consists of tumbled rubble and is clearly the ruin of a substantial structure, possibly a wheelhouse.

Around this are the ruins of several shieling huts, while downslope from it, to the NE, are two small rectangular buildings and a series of field walls, apparently marking a late-Medieval episode of cultivation. Aerial photographs show traces of lazy-beds or rig-and-furrow cultivation extending up the glen as far as Scalavat.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, measuring a maximum of 170m SW-NE by 110m NW-SE, to include the souterrain, prehistoric and later settlements, shielings and field remains, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a good example of a souterrain with evidence of associated above-ground structures, and thus of considerable interest for its potential to contribute to Iron Age studies, and in particular the question of the functions and affinities of souterrains. The Medieval elements of the site are of importance as a well-preserved example of extreme marginal arable agricultural settlement, and have the potential to provide information about the limits of Medieval agricultural capabilities and economy.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the site as NF83 SW 3.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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