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Project

Àirigh Ghuaidhre

Archaeological research by the University of Reading was carried out in 2010 and 2011 of the remains of the 19th century township Àirigh Ghuaidhre.

The main inhabited part of the township of Airigh Ghuaidhre was situated on the southern and the eastern slopes of the hillock which rises northwards from river Barr in the direction of Loch Bharradail. The southern slope of the hillock from the summit to the road is the broadest and offers the greatest possibilities for habitation. It is currently divided into two by a large stone-built enclosure, which occupies the top half of the slope. This visually dominates the hillock from all directions except from the north. The enclosure has featured on the Ordinance Survey (OS) maps since the first edition was published in 1881. It is trapezoidal in shape with a maximum width of 193m along the southern wall and a maximum length of 223m along its western side. The dry-stone wall of the enclosure is 1.5m high on average. The OS surveyed part of the remains of Airigh Ghuaidhre township in 1978 including three buildings and several partial enclosure banks and boundaries, all of which are situated within the post-township stone enclosure.

The new survey took two surveyors twelve days to complete using Leica TS-400 total station. Over 9000 measurements were taken in the course of the survey of the township and the surrounding topography and prehistoric monuments. This made a detailed recording of the remains of the township, which consists of nine long houses, two subsidiary buildings, six limekilns and a string of interconnecting stock enclosures and boundaries. Historic documents were consulted to try to reconstruct demographic picture of the township during the 18th and especially the first half of the 19th century. The attempt was also made to link the size and the structure of the population to the remains of the houses on the ground. Within the area of the township, the survey found evidence of a possible Iron Age enclosure on the western side of the hilltop, and a possible fallen standing stone near the very heart of the settlement, offering glimpses of an even earlier human presence.

Period: Prehistoric, Historic

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Location: Àirigh Ghuaidhre

Project status: Active

Category: Research