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Village Bay's stone tools

26 June 2011

Over the last couple of weeks the drystone dykes and structures that pepper Village Bay have been under close examination. They are known to contain various stone tools, and Professor Andrew Fleming has plotted the distributions. But an opportunity to re-visit this work was grasped by the archaeologist Strat Halliday when he was on island.


Stone tools found on St Kilda include:

·       so-called hoe blades, a few of which are tanged though the majority are not;

·       Skaill-type knives – named after the very thin, ovoid stone tools found on Orkney;

·       pounders and hammerstones;

·       larger stone forms, including saddle and rotary querns.

Most are broken but occasionally complete examples are discovered.


hoe blade

The hoe blades in particular are extremely intriguing. Only one or two similar stone tools have been found on the Western Isles, The closest parallels are to be found on Shetland, in similarly high numbers. But little is actually known about them. How were they hafted? Is there evidence of wear that would enable interpretation of their function? And these are just a few of the questions needing answers.


Strat Halliday


Strat has accurately plotted, noted over 220 of these tools and photographed around 130. He will now consider what further information can be gleaned from this data. The potential for a research project in partnership with others is being considered. Meanwhile the St Kilda Archaeologist may well take the study further by recording the larger stone forms. And then there are the other stone tools to note in a similar way. There is still so much to unravel about St Kilda's past.

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