Thursday, December 03, 2009

Medieval shipyard discovered on Skye

Evidence of a medieval shipyard has been discovered on the Isle of Skye, which lies in the Inner Hebrides islands of Scotland.

Archaeologists have discovered a man made stone quay at Loch na h-Ă€irde inn the southwest portion of the island, which would have been used to help keep water in the loch. Furthermore, two boat timbers were also discovered, with one of them having been radio-carbon-dated to around 1100.

In an interview with the Herald, Dr Colin Martin said, "This small loch was almost certainly the focus of crucial maritime work, whether boat building, repair and maintenance or as an inland harbour.

"One timber was from a boat up to 35ft long, probably a coastal vessel The other was was from a 20ft clinker buolt boat, similar to those still used in the area today."

The dam, which now crumbled and lies below the waterline, would have been able to retain water at high tides in order to keep the loch full, with ships made in it floated out at high tide. Dr Martin said the canal is about 100 yards long.

Dr Martin added: "We have also found a stone built quay just inside the loch, now under water, so it was quite a sophisticated arrangement of features."