Prehistoric settlement on remote Scottish isle dates back to Iron Age

Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of a permanent settlement on a remote Scottish island that could date back to the Iron Age.

Hirta, the main island of St Kilda, was occupied until 1930 when the last islanders left after they asked to be evacuated because their way of life was no longer sustainable.

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) said simple tools found on Hirta suggested that Bronze Age travellers may have visited St Kilda 4,000 to 5,000 years ago from the Western Isles before people settled at an unknown date.

Boreray””s sheer sea cliffs and sea stacs are home to thousands of seabirds and what land is available is grazed by hardy feral sheep.

The discoveries by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) and NTS has suggested that Boreray, as well as Hirta, had settlers.

The survey team said the stone building found could contain Iron Age artefacts.

RCAHMS surveyor Ian Parker said the finds could change experts”” understanding of the archipelago””s history.

“Until now, we thought Boreray was just visited for seasonal hunting and gathering by the people of Hirta,” BBC quoted Parker as saying.

“But this new discovery shows that a farming community actually lived on the island, perhaps as long ago as the prehistoric period.

“These agricultural remains and settlement mounds give us a tantalising glimpse into the lives of those who lived for a time on Boreray.

“Farming what is probably one of the most remote – and inhospitable – islands in the North Atlantic would have been a hard and gruelling existence,” added Parker.

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