Around 50 BC when the Roman philosopher Cicero observed that 'history is the witness that testifies to the passing of time', Rubh' an Dùnain had already been occupied by humans for several thousand years.
Exactly when the first settlers arrived we may never know. But slowly the peninsula is beginning to reveal some of the clues about its extraordinary history. And these suggest that the area has been continuously inhabited for millennia – perhaps one of the longest in the country.
Their remains have been scattered across the promontory – shards of pottery, fragments of flint, earthworks, pieces of sunken timber, sophisticated masonry, crumbling dwellings – the spoor of past cultures and civilisations very different from our own today.
Like any complex jigsaw, making sense of the pieces and assembling them to form an accurate picture is difficult. It calls for expert and careful analysis to interpret the physical evidence and sketch in the gaps.
In this section we attempt to gather together some of the important pieces of the Rubh' an Dùnain puzzle, and with the help of archaeologists and historians reveal something more of its place in our past.
Exploring the mysteries
Formally designated a Historic Monument in October 2017, we hope that our support will provoke wider interest in exploring the mysteries which the abandoned settlement still guards closely and the knowledge and understanding of lost cultures that wait to be unlocked.
This section contains four themes introducing readers to key strands from the peninsula's intriguing past. We summarise the area's archaeology, then consider two possible scenarios from prehistoric and medieval times before outlining the devastating impact of The Clearances on the land and its people.
These topics are backed by more detailed analyses in our Library of downloadable documents which includes several historical studies of the Clan MacAskill, plus useful weblinks.