Cardiff Studies in Archaeology - Specialist Report Number 18


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All of the areas examined are heavily disturbed by rabbits, which are a massive problem on these mounds. These appear to be a particular problem at Bornais because the mounds are isolated areas of high ground in an otherwise flat machair plain. A considerable part of this plain is below or only just above the winter water table and is therefore unsuitable for colonisation by rabbits. The rabbits concentrate on the higher and drier archaeological mounds.

A large part of mound 2 and 3 is subject to arable agriculture. Cultivation of the machair occurs on a four year rotation, which involves two years ploughing three years fallow. This cultivation is not deep but it is clear from observation of the ploughed area in 1997 and 1998 that mound 2A is being seriously damaged by this activity. Structural stones and much artefactual material were observed on this mound. There was a general low density scatter of artefactual material across the rest of the occupied area.

A considerable area of mound 1 has lost its vegetation cover and is heavily scoured by the wind. This problem is caused by the fragile nature of the archaeological deposits on the west side of the mound. In contrast to the organic rich archaeological soils that cover most of the mound this area has a considerable area of loose wind blown sand deposits interspersed by charcoal rich cultural layers. These fragile deposits do not seem capable of developing a thick turf and are easily damaged by cattle during the fallow years.