Issue: Angus McEachen's house

Subtitle the anatomy of an early 19th-century crofting settlement near Arisaig
Publication Type
Abstract This report presents the results of an excavation and historical study of an early 19th-century settlement at Brunary Burn near Arisaig, Highlands (NGR: NM 6770 8578). CFA Archaeology Ltd carried out the excavation during October 2005 in advance of the realignment and upgrading works of the A830 between Fort William and Arisaig. Two rectangular drystone buildings were excavated, along with a yard area between them. Artefacts recovered included pottery, iron tools, cauldron fragments, slate roofing and clay pipe fragments. The project provided an opportunity to bring together social historical research with archaeological evidence for a somewhat archaeologically under-studied period, and also identified the former inhabitants of the settlement as Angus McEachen and his extended family. The buildings appear to have been occupied for perhaps a single generation before the family was evicted and moved to new accommodation within the area.
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Author Ross White
Chris O'Connell
Fay Oliver
Issue Editor Helen Bleck
Publisher Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
Other Person/Org Sue Anderson (Author contributing)
Year of Publication 2009
Volume 35
ISBN 0 903903 62 2
Source DigitalBorn
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Abstract
1
This report presents the results of an excavation and historical study of an early 19th-century settlement at Brunary Burn near Arisaig, Highlands (NGR: NM 6770 8578). CFA Archaeology Ltd carried out the excavation during October 2005 in advance of the realignment and upgrading works of the A830 between Fort William and Arisaig. Two rectangular drystone buildings were excavated, along with a yard area between them. Artefacts recovered included pottery, iron tools, cauldron fragments, slate roofing and clay pipe fragments. The project provided an opportunity to bring together social historical research with archaeological evidence for a somewhat archaeologically under-studied period, and also identified the former inhabitants of the settlement as Angus McEachen and his extended family. The buildings appear to have been occupied for perhaps a single generation before the family was evicted and moved to new accommodation within the area.
2 - 4
Information is presented on site location, the nature of the study, a brief history of the site and placename evidence.
Sue Anderson
5 - 9
This chapter presents methodology for the project and an archaeological description of the remains, along with short reports on pottery and other finds.
10 - 12
Brunary Burn was likely to have been constructed in the early 19th century, as part of the attempted development of the Highlands by landlords keen to maintain population and bring marginal land into cultivation. There is a brief background to the situation at the time in Scotland and details of the inhabitants of the house.
13 - 14
A building which exemplifies the suggested appearance of the Brunary Burn structures '“ drystone walling with a hipped thatched roof '“ is preserved as the 'Cottars' House' at Auchindrain Museum near Inverary. One possible interpretation of these sites is that they were a response to the growing kelp industry in the early 19th century, with eventual economic slowdown and population decrease witnessed in the 1840s. As a direct result of the clearances, famine and emigrations, these houses were abandoned and left to fall to ruin.
15
The work demonstrated that the house and its ancillary structures were of 19th-century origin and were occupied for a short period by the McEachen family some time during the period 1831 to 1851.
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Ross White
Chris O'Connell
Fay Oliver
This report presents the results of an excavation and historical study of an early 19th-century settlement at Brunary Burn near Arisaig, Highlands (NGR: NM 6770 8578). CFA Archaeology Ltd carried out the excavation during October 2005 in advance of the realignment and upgrading works of the A830 between Fort William and Arisaig. Two rectangular drystone buildings were excavated, along with a yard area between them. Artefacts recovered included pottery, iron tools, cauldron fragments, slate roofing and clay pipe fragments. The project provided an opportunity to bring together social historical research with archaeological evidence for a somewhat archaeologically under-studied period, and also identified the former inhabitants of the settlement as Angus McEachen and his extended family. The buildings appear to have been occupied for perhaps a single generation before the family was evicted and moved to new accommodation within the area.