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ECC 23.1 Crobeag, Toa
ECC 23.1 Crobeag, Toa
ENCLOSURE (Norse - 1067 AD to 1266 AD)
PROMONTORY ENCLOSURE (Norse - 1067 AD to 1266 AD)
NB 39043 20958
"Located on the south shore of Loch Erisort, the bulbous promontory of Toa (Norse for headland) projects from east to west from the shore at Crobeag. The neck of this promontory is cut by a substantial stone and turf wall that runs along the southern shore of the headland for 15 metres before crossing its neck (a distance of ca 35 metres) and then lining part of the shore on the north side of the neck for ca 10 metres. For much of its course across the neck the wall survives only as a slight scarp, though tumble can be seen along its line, particularly towards its northern end. Where the wall lines the shore however, (both north and south), its survival is more monumental, with a face standing up to 1 metre high consisting of large blocks of stone in up to 5 courses. When originally constructed this wall would have created an enclosure of the whole of the Toa promontory that would have encompassed at least 6.2 hectares. The date and purpose of this feature is unclear, though its form and size suggests that it may have been built for 'defensive' rather than agricultural reasons. The possibility cannot be ignored that this structure is of Norse origin, especially given its situation in a calm, sheltered anchorage and the fact that today the promontory bears a Norse name meaning headland. If this promontory enclosure is of Norse date then the interesting juxtaposition of its location to that of the early Christian settlement at Eilean Chalium Cille immediately across the water to the north (200 metres) is an interesting one, as the Norse and Christian settlers represent two of the most powerful influences on the culture of Lewis in the early Christian/ early medieval period. Internally a number of features were identified that may point to more permanent settlement within the extent of the promontory, including possibly Norse houses (23.2)." (Burgess 2004, 97-98)
Chris Burgess, Northamptonshire Archaeology. 2004. Northamptonshire Archaeology Archaeological Survey and Evaluation of Eilean Chalium Chille and the Putative Site of the Seaforth Head Castle. Part No Loch Seaforth Head Gazeteer.
Information provided by Western Isles Council Sites & Monuments Record, January 2006.