History dig debris is eyesore no more
THE rotting remains of a caravan and hut left behind more than a decade ago by archaeologists excavating an area of North Uist have been cleared away by community volunteers.
The accommodation was in annual use for more than two decades by archaeologists at the ancient site of Udal, in Grenitote, North Uist.
The dig was led by freelance archaeologist Iain Crawford, with the help of many local people. However, the accommodation, including a hut used for processing finds. was left behind when work on the excavation stopped, and subsequently created an increasing hazard for livestock on Grenitote common grazings.
Members of Access Archaeology, led by local archaeologists Kate MacDonald and Becky Rennell of Uist Archaeology decided to do something about the situation, and asked Western Isles Council to provide a skip.
Then it was all hands to the pumps as volunteers turned up to clear the site of rusting metal, aluminium and wood.
Local crofters Donald Ewen MacIntosh and Donald William MacIntosh provided a tractor to haul the caravan base into the skip.
The clear-up operation amused volunteers by yielding many 20th-century artefacts such as crockery, pots and pans, shovels and even a hot water bottle.
But for Kate MacDonald the highlight was the discovery of a large Iron Age stone used as a multi-purpose tool for hammering, grinding and polishing.
She said: “This is the largest one of its kind I've ever seen. It must have been used by someone with massive hands."