The Historical Archaeology Research project on Staffa

Staffa, and its internationally famous feature ‘Fingal’s Cave’ is one of Scotland’s most significant tourist sites.

Laser scanning on Staffa

Following on from a short exploratory survey, laser scanning, sound recording and test pitting in 2014 by the HARPS team, funding was sought from the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland to further explore the archaeological potential of the island with a focus on historical archaeology. A number of activities were proposed by HARPS. These included a small scale excavation through the upper floor layers of ‘the bothy’ with particular focus on evidence from the historic period and early tourism. Test pitting had recovered the first ever evidence of prehistoric activity (diagnostic worked flint) as well as pottery dated to the 15thCentury, both in close proximity to the bothy. Also scheduled was Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) of a subset of the 18th – 20th century tourist graffiti in Fingal’s Cave and a systematic search for mediaeval or earlier rock carving/art and a drone based photogrammetric survey of the northern sections of the island (not captured by the 2014 survey).

Much more information on this project is available through the project website and twitter feed.