Past & Present

The Neolithic Settlement

The farming community that built this chambered cairn must have lived nearby but their homes are yet to be discovered. However, archaeological excavations at Traigh na Cleabhaig near Taobh Tuath(Northton)and Eilean Domhnuill in North Uist have revealed what their farmsteads could have looked like, and something of the resources used by these Neolithic people.

A farmstead might consist of a single rectangular, turf house built on stone foundations, with stake and wattle outhouses and yards, as well as open-air areas for specific tasks. All may have been enclosed within a fence. Excavations have revealed piles of domestic waste – middens – in the yards and open areas. Broken pots, ash from the central hearth in the house, human and animal waste, a few broken stone tools, food waste like animal bones and sea shells – all of it went into the midden heap.

By Jill Harden