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3 December 2006
Barra find dates back to Bronze Age

Human remains discovered on Barra (Western Isles, Scotland) exactly a year ago, have been confirmed as dating from nearly 4000 years ago. After many months of investigation by Historic Scotland, the AOC Archaeology Group and local archaeologists, the final data has been compiled which concludes that the bones all date between 1880 and 1490 BCE.
     Initially discovered by Barra artist Moira Bard, the bones were exposed near Allasdale on the west side of the island, a site which has long been considered of archaeological interest. Having been reported to the local authority, the bones were formally identified as being human by a local doctor and then a team of experts arrived on the island to investigate.
     Describing the final conclusions of the project, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar archaeologist Mary Macleod, who initiated the investigation said: "The team excavated four small, stone lined graves, which contained the remains of 13 individuals, of all ages from new born babies up. It may well have been a family cemetery. The dates are 1880-1490 BCE which is the Bronze Age. No metals finds were made but there are the remains of two pots from the graves, and more stray finds from the area around." She added: "The area around Allasdale machair has been occupied from the Stone Age onwards and there were a lot of loose finds from the area around the graves, including a stone axe, hammer stones, pottery and bone tools."
     Funded and organised by Historic Scotland, the work was especially urgent due to the bones lying within an erosion hollow which prompted the teams into action. Explaining their part in the works, a spokesperson for Historic Scotland said: "Historic Scotland funds a Human Remains call-out contract, currently held by AOC Archaeology, as a support to local archaeologists, who can call for help in dealing with sites where human remains are exposed. The contracts rescues archaeological information from eroding sites and at the same time addresses understandable local concerns about exposed remains." And so looking to the future, Mary Macleod added that the local authority would continue to monitor the site and speak to the community about what action they would like to be taken.

Source: Stornoway Today (1 December 2006)

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