Baile Sear, North Uist - August 2005  The SCAPE Trust
Coll Archaeology Association: Introduction
Coll lies off the west coast of Mull and is one of the islands of the Inner Hebrides. The island has many large, sandy beaches with extensive areas of dune behind. The sand in the dunes can be very mobile, and some dunes have built up to over 30 metres. If the sand is covered with a layer of vegetation, the dunes stabilise. If the wind gets under the protective grass, for example when an animal digs a hole through it, the sand can be blown away, forming great craters called blowouts.
Large blowout in the dunes of Coll.
The machair area behind the dunes is very fertile and has attracted people since prehistoric times. This means that there are hundreds of archaeological sites scattered in the dunes. Many had been covered over by drifting sand, but can be re-exposed once the wind has blown the sand away.

The Coll Archaeology Association is looking at the archaeology of the island, discovering new sites and monitoring sites already known about. It regularly visits the dunes to look for newly uncovered sites.

Members of the Coll Archaeology Association in the dunes
The group is also interested in the offshore islands and have been on a trip to Ornsay, an uninhabited island off the coast of Coll.
One innovative project being undertaken by group members is the Coll Remote Aerial Photography project. A remote controlled model aeroplane has been fitted with a digital camera and the plane is being used to take photographs of some of the sites found by the Association.
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