chapter  6
18 Pages

Ethno-geoarchaeological study of seasonal occupation

Bhiliscleitir, the Isle of Lewis
WithPatrycja Kupiec, Karen Milek

This chapter presents the results of an ethnoarchaeological study of floor deposits at the nineteenth- to mid-twentieth-century shieling site at Bhiliscleitir on the Isle of Lewis. It compares them to floor formation processes, site maintenance practices, and activity areas described by an informant who stayed at the site. The Bhiliscleitir shieling settlement is situated 4 km from the road end at Skigersta on the east coast of Ness, Isle of Lewis, in north-west Scotland. In 2007 Chris Barrowman surveyed the site for the Ness Archaeological Landscape Survey. The survey recorded the dimensions, internal organization, and the state of preservation of the shieling ruins. Excellent preservation of the ruins, and the well-documented last phase of their use, makes the Bhiliscleitir shielings settlement an excellent case study to explore the nature of summer transhumance on the Isle of Lewis, and to test the potential of microscopic investigation to detect seasonal occupation.