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stepping stones of maritime history


The ATP have been excavating a range of sites in Swordle Bay since 2006 as research project ranging from Mesolithic through to the 19th century, including Neolithic monument Cladh Aindreis Chambered Cairn (SAM 7778). Initial survey of a potential site revealed a low mound. A test trench in 2006 revealed stones of anthropogenic origin and a small metal rove.

Site is a trench with a boat covered with stones, which are partly robbed from nearby Neolithic monument. The body has not survived. Finds suggest a male warrior of high rank.

Some of the finds:

  • Spearhead
  • Sword (Peterson type K)
  • Battle axe (Francisca)
  • Shield boss (umbo)
  • A large iron pan
  • Copper-alloy top of a drinking horn
  • Whetstone
  • A sickle
  • Flint strike-a-lights
  • Several rivets

Viking sword in situ.

Ardnamurchan ship burial

Viking sword ex situ.


The boat was a small craft clinker built and survived in the form of over 200 rivets and roves, more or less in situ. It is an intact boat burial of a high ranking Viking warrior. Weapons and finds suggest a date at the end of the 9th century.

The burial site.

Impression of ship burial (Image: Geoff Robinson).

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