Page last updated at 01:43 GMT, Thursday, 10 December 2009

Ancient midden 'unlikely to survive beyond 2010'

Wave
The ancient dump is under threat from the sea and wind

An ancient midden, or rubbish dump, thought to have historical importance is under serious threat from erosion, according to archaeologists.

They said it was doubtful if artefacts at Uamh an Eich Bhric on Skye's west coast would survive beyond 2010.

Excavations at the site during 2008 and earlier this year were seen as the "only chance" to investigate it.

A report published online by Highland Council's Historic Environment Record said it was key Iron Age site.

Evidence of copper-alloy and iron smelting under a sea cliff at Fiskavaig makes it so important as a way of better understanding the Iron Age.

Finds include an iron ring, a bent copper alloy strip and a needle made from bone or antler.

Experts from West Coast Archaeological Services said erosion caused by wind and storms threatened the site, located in a natural rock shelter.

In their report following fieldwork carried out last year, they said waterfalls that cascade from the cliff top to the beach gave Uamh an Eich Bhric a "feeling of otherworldliness".

Historic Scotland funded this year's excavation.

West Coast Archaeological Services said 10% of the midden was too deeply buried to investigate.



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