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An RCAHMS archaeological team has completed a detailed survey of the virtually-inaccessible island of Borerary, in the St Kilda archipelago, uncovering evidence of a farming community possibly dating to the Iron Age. From the BBC, 17 June 2011:
The remains of a settlement which could date back to the Iron Age has been uncovered on a remote Scottish island, according to archaeologists.
It was previously thought Boreray in the St Kilda archipelago was only visited by islanders to hunt seabirds and gather wool from sheep.
Archaeologists have now recorded an extensive agricultural field system and terraces for cultivating crops.
They have also found an intact stone building buried under soil and turf.
RCAHMS surveyor Ian Parker said, “This is an incredibly significant find, which could change our understanding of the history of St Kilda. This new discovery shows that a farming community actually lived on Boreray, perhaps as long ago as the prehistoric period. The agricultural remains and settlement mounds give us a tantalising glimpse into the lives of those early inhabitants. Farming what is probably one of the most remote – and inhospitable – islands in the North Atlantic would have been a hard and gruelling existence. And given the island’s unfeasibly steep slopes, it’s amazing that they even tried living there in the first place.”