18 Pages

A Find of Ringerike Art From Bornais in the Outer Hebrides

WithNiall Sharples

This chapter discusses the design on a bone cylinder recovered during recent excavations at Bornais on South Uist. It details discussion of the context of the bone cylinder and entails a description of the house in which it was found and the stratigraphic position of this house in relation to other houses. The sequence outlined here is reminiscent of the sequence exposed by the excavations at Cille Pheadair, a smaller settlement on South Uist. The animal has some classic Ringerike features notably the straight tails with abruptly curved tips. Scandinavian contact is indicated by the Ringerike art and by the combs; steatite is also coming from the north, probably Shetland. Prior to the work at Bornais and Cille Pheadair very little was known of the Viking settlement of the Outer Hebrides. Historical records were sparse and archaeological knowledge was restricted to a scatter of important burials and two poorly understood settlements.