There's an Open Day at Eaglais na h-Aoidhe from 10.00am to 4.00pm today (Saturday-26th August).

It is in the middle of the two archaeological surveys which are being done now.  You can meet the archaeologists and find out what they are doing.  Everyone is welcome.

Urras Eaglais na h-Aoidhe is using a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to carry out research this summer to understand more about the archaeology of Eaglais na h-Aoidhe and its Graveyard.

'Understanding Our Community's Past' is one part of a wider project called 'Building a Future from the Past', which the Urras is developing. The aim of this initiative is to develop an iconic tourist amenity to attract more visitors to Point.

The development is based around Eaglais na h-Aoidhe (St Columba’s Ui Church and Graveyard) which is a medieval Scheduled Ancient Monument and one of the most important archaeological sites on the Isle of Lewis.

The grant of £5,700 which HLF has awarded will specifically be used to enable research to be carried out in the Church and surrounding Graveyard. The objective is to identify the existence of any buried grave slabs and other underground features and early structures which will lead to a greater understanding of the historical development of the whole area. This will be done by Rose Geophysical Consultants LLP of Orkney who are specialist archaeological surveyors.

They will conduct a Geophysical Survey which involves using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and a Resistance Survey. The Resistance Survey will only provide information to a depth of 0.75m – 1.00m. However, GPR can give more detail about different layers and features to a depth of about 2.0m.

Dr Susan Ovendon, one of the archaeological consultants, explained that earth resistance surveys are particularly suited to locating stone structures, walls and rubble spreads, pits, ditches, and banks.

She also explained that a GPR survey is the best technique for providing information on the depth and stratigraphy of a site. In GPR surveys pulses of electromagnetic energy are directed downwards into the earth. The transmitted wave is affected by variations in the electrical properties in the subsurface, which are influenced by material type, moisture content and pore fluids.  This project began on Monday 21 August.

Everyone is welcome today to come along and see what is happening, gain hands-on experience of doing archaeological research and find out what can be learned from these research methods.

This important stage in the project will end with an Evening Lecture at 7.30pm on Friday 1 September in Ionad Stoodie.   The project archaeologists will talk about their research and present their preliminary findings – come along and be the first to find out what has been learnt and celebrate the results.

Later the Urras will produce a leaflet summarising the results. This will be freely available to the local community and visitors to Bùth an Rubha and Eaglais na h-Aoidhe. We will also share the full report with all interested parties and everyone will be able to read it on our website – www.uichurch.co.uk.