outer Hebrides

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Kisimul Castle, Scotland

Kisimul Castle sits on a rocky islet in the bay just off the coast of Barra in the Outer Hebrides. As it is completely surrounded by the sea, it can only be reached by boat and is all but impregnable. Kisimul has its own fresh water wells. Legend has it that this has been the stronghold of the MacNeils since the 11th century. The earliest documentary record of Kisimul Castle dates from the mid 16th century.

Kisimul was abandoned in 1838 when the island was sold, and the castle’s condition deteriorated. Some of its stone was used as ballast for fishing vessels, and some even ended up as paving in Glasgow. The remains of the castle, along with most of the island of Barra, were purchased in 1937 by Robert Lister MacNeil, the then chief of Clan MacNeil, who made efforts at restoration.

In 2001 the castle was leased by the chief of Clan MacNeil to Historic Scotland for 1000 years for the annual sum of £1 and a bottle of whisky.

Mystery of Britain’s ‘Franken-mummies’

Two 3,000-year-old human skeletons dug up in the Outer Hebrides have been found to be a jigsaw of at least six different people who died hundreds of years apart.

It is one of Britain’s most intriguing archeological mysteries.

When two almost perfectly preserved 3,000-year-old human skeletons were dug up on a remote Scottish island, they were the first evidence that ancient Britons preserved their dead using mummification.

The scientists who uncovered the bodies also found clues that one of them – a man buried in a crouching position – was not a single individual, but had in fact been assembled from the body parts of several different people.

The discovery began a 10-year investigation into what had led the bronze-age islanders to this strange fate.

Now, a new study using the latest in DNA technology has found that the two skeletons together comprise the remains of at least six different individuals, who died several hundred years apart.

Now *this* is fascinating! Click here for the full story.