The Giant Grave Dig is commencing today, Sunday the 3rd of September. We will be posting updates of the timetable of work, which is subject to weather.

Please see information below on how you can get involved.

Daily Updates: 

Monday Morning
As the rain is quite heavy this morning we won’t be on site at 9. We will be there by 2 so please do come along then.
Sunday Evening
Heather here – much warmer and dryer than earlier on today. 
We did a quick topographic survey of the area immediately around the ‘Giants Grave’ yesterday and have produced a contour plan (see attached). The contours are at 5cm intervals and so you can see that the mound is quite slight but is real.  We drew a shape around the visible cist slab cover and what we thought was the shape of the mound from the surface and have overlain these over the contour plan. The dig will be focussed on the slight mound.  One of the things the contour plan has shown up is that the cist slab is not  at the top of the mound. This might be because it has been moved in the past.
The forecast for tomorrow  from the met office is for rain between 9 and 1pm with it drying out in the late afternoon. We shall go on site again for 9am and do a couple of hours geophysics and then probably retire to the Lodge Hotel for a coffee and perhaps an early lunch.  We shall be on site  again at 2pm to do some more geophysics and leave site about 4pm. 
Please feel free to come along at either 9.15 am (or about 2.15pm if you want to avoid the worse of the rain). Please let me know when you would like to come. 
I anticipate that we will start digging on Tuesday morning so again please either come about 9.15 or 2.00.  It is fine if you would like to come for one of the sessions but don’t want to be there all day.  Please wear warm and waterproof clothes and sturdy boots. All equipment and training will be provided.  
The school visits will start on Wednesday one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Sunday 3rd Update from Doc Holliday : I have talked to Heather. They did a topography survey yesterday to accurately map the lie of the ground. Today they are intending to start the geophysics survey at 0930 despite the weather. All are welcome to come, but it might be quite tough! They may retire to the Lodge later in the morning for coffee! There will be a chance when the weather is better later in the week, to use the equipment yourselves. John


Further Information:

Final preparations are under way for the arrival of Dr Heather James, Dr Colleen Batey and their team this weekend. Our project is to open up the mound at Cnoc an Fhoimheir ‘the hillock of the giant’ to discover who or what lies underneath. All that we know about the site points to a prehistoric burial, but the experience of ‘ground truth’ excavations is that you often find the unexpected – or nothing!

The work starts this Sunday 3 September with a painstaking geophysical survey of the area, followed by a roll-back of the turf probably on Tuesday. The timetable depends heavily on the weather and what we find. We will keep you updated by posting daily information on the Trust Website, look out for information in the ‘News’ section which is included on the front page at, updates will also be included on various social media including Facebay Tiree. If you are unable to access the interest then you can call the office on 220 074 and speak to Donna.

This is a community dig, largely funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund. We need your help! You can be on your hands and knees in the wind and rain for two weeks, or pop up the track to Lodge Farm when you are passing. Everyone will be welcome and shown around the site. We are grateful to the crofter, Fiona MacKinnon, and Argyll Estates for permission to carry out this investigation into Tiree’s deep past.

Dr John Holliday


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