ISBuC (v7) 2012
Bronze Age round house
'All around the houses'

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Take the Quiraing road from Uig or Staffin. On the Uig side of the River Rha you'll see a recently built fank, or sheep pen. About 100 yards to the south-east, by the very edge of the road, is a hut circle or, more correctly, the remains of a Bronze Age round house. This was built in stone to four or five feet and topped with a conical roof of poles weather-proofed with whatever materials were available, probably turf.

About 4,000 years ago, the landscape would have had a cover of shrubby trees that provided nuts, berries and limited hunting. The inhabitants may also have raised primitive crops and domesticated animals. Archaeologists say that a powerful eruption of a volcano in Iceland cooled the climate and increased rainfall. Waterlogging of useable ground and loss of vital flora and fauna ensued. (The peat you see today started growing then.) Some Bronze Age people may have migrated away from the area entirely but some are thought to have moved the short distance to Skye's coastal areas.

Closer to the river are the remains of shielings, shelters built much later for girls and boys tending cattle. These are sometimes associated with Bronze Age habitation, perhaps because the stones could be "robbed".

Courtesy of Geoff Holman