Scotland's Coastal Heritage at Risk

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Cott (6332)

Current Priority
1
East
349880
North
1052950
Site Type
Settlement
Period
3rd-1st mill. BC

Structural remains and anthropogenic soil deposits are visible in a coastal exposure that extends for over 100m. The section stands up to 3.5m high; in most places the basal archaeological deposits are obscured by a storm beach. The densest concentration of structural remains occurs towards the centre of the section. Here several walls are visible, forming at least two major structural phases. Wall ends protrude at 90 degrees to the section and measures up to 0.6m wide by 1.3m or more in height. A cursory inspection suggests that at least four structures are present, none of which appear particularly substantial or defensive. Some of the structures appear to have been revetted into middens. The midden deposits contain inclusions of shell, bird and mammal and fish bone, peat ash, charcoal and burnt stone; some of the bone is unburnt and articulated. The latest structural phase lies beneath a very substantial mound. This, in turn, lies beneath a farmstead of 18-20th C date. Further structural remains survive in front of the section also, but here they have been partially covered by the storm beach and are not readily identifiable. The extensive archaeological remains in this area apparently represent a settlement of some duration. Of the several parts of the buildings currently visible, none is obviously of Iron Age type and it is possible that they predate this period. The occupation and midden deposits appear to be well preserved, to the extent that articulated bone is readily visible in section. The over burden of farm material has helped, no doubt, to preserve the site and may have assisted in the preservation of organic materials. This site requires urgent assessment to determine, at the minimum, its nature, extent and date. It is very vulnerable to further losses and therefore should be prioritised for further work.

ShoreUPDATE 13 May 2015

As described, this site is actively eroding and unstable. Several walls and substantial midden deposits are visible in the section. The structures currently visible do not appear to be Iron Age, but given the site location, and the type of remains visible, it seems more likely that these represent later activity, possibly of Norse date.

There has been recent dumping in a small area at the south end of the section. Towards the north of the section, two structural phases are clearly separated by a layer of windblown sand.

Condition and current recommendations:

Condition
Good
Action
Visit - check condition; characterise site and obtain dating evidence ;
Survey site - using several techniques to characterise site ;
Excavate site - open area

Over to you...

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Record PWT26 on map Papa Westray: Map 1 in Orkney Coastal Zone Assessment Survey 1998: Westray, Papa Westray, Holm of Papa Westray, West Mainland, 1999

Other records:

NMRS
2866
SMR
Unknown

ShoreUpdates

1 ShoreUpdate accepted and 0 pending.

Click on an update to expand it.

13th May, 2015 by training1
Survey Information
User:
training1
Date:
May 13, 2015
Tidal state:
low
Site located?:
Yes
Condition Information
Proximity to coast edge:
coast edge
Coastally eroding?:
active sea erosion; has eroded in the past
Is there a coastal defence?:
no
Description:

Structural remains and anthropogenic soil deposits are visible in a coastal exposure that extends for over 100m. The section stands up to 3.5m high; in most places the basal archaeological deposits are obscured by a storm beach. The densest concentration of structural remains occurs towards the centre of the section. Here several walls are visible, forming at least two major structural phases. Wall ends protrude at 90 degrees to the section and measures up to 0.6m wide by 1.3m or more in height. A cursory inspection suggests that at least four structures are present, none of which appear particularly substantial or defensive. Some of the structures appear to have been revetted into middens. The midden deposits contain inclusions of shell, bird and mammal and fish bone, peat ash, charcoal and burnt stone; some of the bone is unburnt and articulated. The latest structural phase lies beneath a very substantial mound. This, in turn, lies beneath a farmstead of 18-20th C date. Further structural remains survive in front of the section also, but here they have been partially covered by the storm beach and are not readily identifiable. The extensive archaeological remains in this area apparently represent a settlement of some duration. Of the several parts of the buildings currently visible, none is obviously of Iron Age type and it is possible that they predate this period. The occupation and midden deposits appear to be well preserved, to the extent that articulated bone is readily visible in section. The over burden of farm material has helped, no doubt, to preserve the site and may have assisted in the preservation of organic materials. This site requires urgent assessment to determine, at the minimum, its nature, extent and date. It is very vulnerable to further losses and therefore should be prioritised for further work.

ShoreUPDATE 13 May 2015

As described, this site is actively eroding and unstable. Several walls and substantial midden deposits are visible in the section. The structures currently visible do not appear to be Iron Age, but given the site location, and the type of remains visible, it seems more likely that these represent later activity, possibly of Norse date.

There has been recent dumping in a small area at the south end of the section. Towards the north of the section, two structural phases are clearly separated by a layer of windblown sand.

Management Information
How visible are the remains? (in section):
clearly visible in section
Comments and recommendations
Comments:

Agree with original surveyors that structures do not appear Iron Age, but given site location and type of visible remains currently considered to be of later date, possibly Norse

Recommendations:

Priority 1*