Fortunately for those of us with an interest, the effort to preserve and document data and artifacts from the Viking Age continues, as evidenced by this ongoing project on the beautiful Island Of Skye, Scotland. (Ed.)
|The presence of the Viking canal shows that the site was a significant anchorage GETTY IMAGES|
24 November 2017, 1201, The Times
A shipyard on a remote peninsula on the island of Skye where Vikings may have built and maintained their longships is to become an official historic monument.
Archaeologists believe that Loch na h-Àirde on the Rubh’ an Dùnain peninsula was a hub of maritime activity during the years of Norse power and was used to service the vital waterways of the Highlands and islands.
|A canal was cut to link the loch to the headland, and there is also a stone quay, an entrance canal and a blockage system designed to keep a constant water level in the loch.|
The timbers were dated to about 1100AD and were from a workshop for producing or repairing galleys at a time when Vikings were becoming more settlers than warriors.
A spokesman for Historic Environment Scotland (HES) said: “The complex is particularly notable for its impressive survival of field remains, the possible relationship to an Iron Age dun, the rock-cut channel and the potential for further Norse and medieval boat remains to survive in the loch.
“The scale of the docks and the presence of the canal and loch quays demonstrates that the site was a significant anchorage for the western seaboard.
“Given its sheltered and important strategic location, it is possible that the loch was used to shelter and overwinter boats, or that the site was a staging location. It may also have been used to repair or even to construct boats.”
HES has listed the 115-metre (380ft) canal, two boat docks, former boat shelters and other structures. It has also preserved the bed of Loch na h-Àirde, the lochan on the peninsula used as a harbour. The shipyard is believed to have been active until the 19th century.
The peninsula is the hereditary homeland of the MacAskill clan. Gordon Mack, editor of the website for the MacAskills of Rubh’ an Dùnain Society, said that official recognition for the boatyard would “add to our campaign to repopulate the area with a virtual online community”.