Sònraichte Archaeology Project 2021

The archaeology of the Outer Hebrides is of great interest to the community. In 2020 Museum nan Eilean received funding from Museums Galleries Scotland for a 12-month project to enable focussed work on some of the archaeological assemblages which are part of the museum’s collections.  The collections to be tackled lacked documentation reflecting current excavation procedures and museum standards, making them difficult to search and access. The aim of the Project was to tackle these legacy issues and improve the museum catalogue descriptions, enabling us to promote and develop the archaeological collections and enhance their accessibility.

The project aimed to fully catalogue, photograph and repackage approximately 200 boxes of archaeological assemblages. Project Officer, Sam Ferrer, an archaeological scientist, worked on a number of significant assemblages of archaeological material from sites including:

  • Dun Bharabhat
  • Pabbay
  • Dunasbroc
  • Berie
  • Ensay
  • St Kilda

The project enhances the Historic Environment Record of the Comhairle and aligns with Scotland's Islands Research Framework for Archaeology (SIRFA) which in turn feeds into the national Scottish Archaeological Research Framework (ScARF).

As a result of this project we have improved our understanding and knowledge of these parts of our collection, enhanced their preservation and reduced the proportion of our collection which is uncatalogued. This will help us to make more of our collections fully accessible to the community for future research, exhibition, education and enjoyment.  Another aim of the project was to develop methodology and best practice advice on documenting archaeological collections in particular.

The Project Officer also held Open Days at Museum nan Eilean to enable people to find out more about the collections and the project, and view some of the artefacts which have been uncovered in the course of the project.

Regular project updates and reports were posted via our blog and social media channels. If you would like to find out more please follow the links below.