Prehistory

The Embo cairn before excavation

Most of the archaeological evidence relating to life in south-east Sutherland is to be found in the Cyderhall-Camore Wood region. The earliest settlers probably arrived c.5000 BC and established settlements below Skibo Castle.

These people would have been hunters and fishermen and you can still make out the sites of shell middens from the north end of the current-day Dornoch Firth Bridge.  (A shell or kitchen midden is a heap of clam, oyster, whelk, or mussel shells).  

Chambered cairns at Embo, Evelix and Clashmore testify to the presence of Neolithic farmers in the area – the Embo grave having been dated at c.2500 BC.

The hut circles at Camore indicate that the area was probably populated by an established community of farmers some 500 years before the birth of Christ.  A hut circle is the archaeological term given to a circular or oval depression in the ground with evidence of a low stone wall around it that used to be the foundation of a round house. The superstructure of such a house would have been made of timber and thatch.

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Historylinks Museum, The Meadows, Dornoch, Sutherland IV25 3SF

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