been people on St Kilda since prehistoric times, exploiting the
rich resources of the sea, growing crops and keeping animals. It
is not clear when the first settlers came to St Kilda, but simple
stone tools found on Hirta suggest that Bronze Age travellers may
have visited St Kilda from the Western Isles some 4,000 to 5,000
years ago. In the 1830s the Rev Neil Mackenzie found what were probably
remains of burial cists in Village Bay. Excavations in 1995 revealed
a possible burial structure dating from the Bronze Age.
In 1844 an
earth house (souterrain), possibly a store associated with an Iron
Age house dating from about 2,000 years ago, was discovered. It
consists of a long passage, with shorter passages or cells branching
There are records
of early chapels, and two incised stone crosses of Early Christian
style have been found.
is confirmed by archaeological finds of brooches and steatite vessels,
and by the use of Norse place names such as Oiseval - the east hill
and Ruaival - the red hill.