Following the success of the Project SAMPHIREs intertidal survey at Hunterston Sands in September last year we have launched a new, dedicated project, the COALIE (Coastal Archaeological Landscapes: Intertidal & Estuarine) Survey Project in partnership with RCAHMS.
The project focuses on investigating coastal and marine heritage on the North Ayrshire coast between Largs and Ardrossan.
We’re particularly interested in placing the sites we examine in a broad historical and geographical context, sites such as abandoned harbours, beacons, fishtraps and other structures. Much of this archaeology is underwater for much of the time and difficult to interpret without detailed historical research or local knowledge.
That is why we are working with local individuals and community groups to integrate their knowledge and experience with marine and coastal archaeology specialists at WA Coastal & Marine and RCAHMS.
If you would like to get involved in field surveys or have finds and sites you would like to look into in more detail in this area of the Outer Clyde please get in touch.
We’re particularly interested in shipwrecks, lost harbours, old fishtraps and other sites and finds along this coastline: we want to hear from you.
A panoramic view of the possible harbour site at Hunterston Sands (WA C&M 2013).
A panoramic view of the possible harbour site at Hunterston Sands at very low tide (WA C&M 2013).
Photos from our recently completed survey of the complex intertidal remains at Hunterston Sands, undertaken with RCAHMS. The remains at the site, which include a possible harbour, lie close to the Mean Low Water Springs mark, meaning that we had to time the survey exactly in order to see all of the features exposed. This also meant a very early start but at least we got to see the beautiful sunrise over the Firth of Clyde!
Dr. Andrew Bicket takes field notes in the dawn light during low tide at Hunterston Sands.
We were fortunate to be joined at this anti-social hour by local historian and guide Isabel Garrett of the Friends of Portencross Castle and local amateur archaeologists Michael and Katherine Scott; fonts of knowledge about this and other local sites.
The team in front of some of the intertidal structures at Hunterston Sands.
The SAMPHIRE team are in Shieldaig today, following up on a possible wreck site at Murchadh Breac reported to us by a local creel fisherman. We are working with Torridon Sea Tours and mobilised our dive team today from the pontoon at Shieldaig. We were fortunate to have local historian Robert Gordon joining us on the trip and to be able to compare notes with boat operators Kenny and Gemma Livingstone, whose family have lived and fished in the area for generations. We sent two divers down on the west side of Murchadh Breac, at the mouth of Loch Torridon. The area was found to be heavily covered in kelp and no wreck material was encountered today but chatting with locals we now have more info on wreck sites in the area and will be following up on these leads.