Anatomy of an Iron Age Roundhouse: The Cnip Wheelhouse Excavations, Lewis


wheelhouse, architecture, pottery, cosmology, roundhouse, red deer, human remains

Western Isles, Scotland, UK


Iron Age


Wheelhouses were Iron Age buildings of great sophistication. Although found only in northern Scotland, they belong to a much wider “roundhouse tradition” that, before the arrival of the Romans, covered the whole of Britain. When tidal erosion on Cnip beach in west Lewis uncovered a spectacularly well-preserved wheelhouse complex, it presented a rare opportunity to shed new light on the extraordinary architectural phenomenon. The uniquely detailed sequence at Cnip enabled the excavation team to trace the settlement from conception to abandonment, dissecting the buildings and generating new insights into the daily lives of the Iron Age islanders, their relationships with their environment, and with their neighbours. This volume sets out the results of the excavations, placing them in the wider context of the British and European Iron Age.


This report provides an excellent source for readers to appreciate the archaeology in the Western Isles.

– Professor Niall Sharples (Antiquity)


Canmore ID 4009


  • Front matter
    Ian Armit, Kirsten Leask, Ulrike Wenzel
  • 1 | Introduction
    Ian Armit
  • 2 | Excavation results
    Ian Armit
  • 3 | Material Culture
    Ian Armit, Fraser Hunter, Kath McSweeney, Bill Finlayson, Anthony Newton, Andrew Heald, Ann MacSween, Ann Clarke, Andrew Kitchener, Dawn McLaren
  • 4 | Subsistence and environment
    Ian Armit, Finbar McCormick, Sheila Hamilton-Dyer, Ruby Cerón-Carrasco, Mike Church, Mike Cressey
  • 5 | Anatomy of a wheelhouse
    Ian Armit
  • 6 | Chronology
    Ian Armit, Magnar Dalland
  • 7 | Living in Iron Age Lewis
    Ian Armit
  • References
    Ian Armit
  • Index
    Ian Armit
  • Plates
    Ian Armit


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September 30, 2022

Details about this monograph

ISBN-13 (15)


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