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Early History

There have 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 off.

The Earth House
Photograph: Glasgow Museums

Incised cross on a stone re-used in House 16
Photograph: Glasgow Museums

There are records of early chapels, and two incised stone crosses of Early Christian style have been found.

Norse occupation 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.



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