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SKOMER ISLAND HUT GROUP 8, EXCAVATED FEATURE

Site Details


NPRN 420196

Map Reference SM70NW

Grid Reference SM72420990

Unitary (Local) Authority Pembrokeshire

Old County Pembrokeshire

Community Marloes and St Brides

Type of Site BURNT MOUND, HUT CIRCLE SETTLEMENT, ROUND HOUSE (DOMESTIC)

Broad Class DOMESTIC

Period Roman, Iron Age

Site Description 1. Double hut, a and b, with no linking gap between the units, although there are two stones in 8b where a gap is likely; there is a small yard to the east, set into the north side of a field lynchet. To the south is a probably burnt mound. Like hut group 7, the western hut, a, opens into one field, the eastern hut, b, into another, and again the burnt mound is adjacent to the western hut which was the cooking hut. It is presumed that the hut group is later than the lynchet otherwise the latter could not have formed.
Site description in: Evans, J. G. 1990. An archaeological surve y of Skomer, Dyfed. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 56, 257 & Figure 6.

2. A collaborative research project between staff of the Royal Commission, Sheffield University and Cardiff University completed a third season of fieldwork and research on the renowned prehistoric landscape and National Nature Reserve of Skomer Island in Pembrokeshire, west Wales, between 1st-5th April 2014.

Building on previous non-invasive surveys of the island, in 2014 the Skomer project team undertook a trial excavation on a burnt mound adjoining the hut to recover palaeoenvironmental evidence and material suitable for radiocarbon dating.

A small (7m x 1m) evaluation trench was opened across a large cooking mound adjoining and to the south of the hut 8 running from the external wall of the hut down to the outer edge of the mound. Although few finds were encountered in the mound itself, lines of revetment walling showed that the pile of burnt stone had been carefully defined in its day. Beneath the mound a buried soil layer was uncovered which yielded charcoal, flint tools and tiny fragments of prehistoric possible prehistoric or historic pottery or daub. Excavations were recorded throughout using Structure from Motion, a technique which builds individual photographs into a 3D digital model.

The excavations have yielded the first scientific dates ever obtained for the settlements on Skomer Island. Charcoal of probable blackthorn derived from a buried land surface (context (107)) sealed beneath the mound of burnt stones, which contained worked flint and a hammerstone, provided a radiocarbon date of 751-408 cal. BC, Early Iron Age. The presence of worked flint suggests earlier, likely Bronze Age, settlement or activity on the later site of the Iron Age house and mound of burnt stone; the Early Iron Age charcoal may suggest clearance prior to the construction of a new settlement. The only find from within the mound of burnt stone, which was otherwise devoid of charcoal or artefacts, was a single cattle tooth (Find 24) from the central deposits (context (108) of the revetted mound. This provided a rediocarbon date of 161 cal. BC - 51 cal AD, Late Iron Age, for the main period activity on site although not the very latest and final tips of burnt stone onto the mound. The settlement activity on this part of northern Skomer is therefore firmly dated to the Later Iron Age.

T. Driver, RCAHMW, September 2014

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