West Highland Museum Trust logo

Archaeology

Polished stone axes were the oldest archaeological objects found in the West Highland region, and date from the Neolithic period (around 2000BCE). The use of metal axes became widespread soon afterwards, and the museum has examples of these, as well as the heads of the earlier stone axes.

Our collection includes ancient pottery and metalwork, arrowheads and stonework, salvage from the wreck of a Spanish Galleon, and clothing and artefacts from a 1500-year old crannog site. (A crannog was a type of circular loch-dwelling on wooden stilts). Choose an image for further details.

From an Armada Galleon

After the death of Mary I in 1558, the famous 'Bloody Mary' who had restored England to Roman Catholicism, her husband and co-Monarch, Phillip II of Spain (also a devout Roman Catholic) considered her successor, Queen Elizabeth I, a heretic and an illegitimate ruler. Using taxes raised with permission from Pope Sixtus V for a 'crusade', Phillip planned to invade England.

The ill-fated Spanish invasion of England of 1588 ended in disaster for the Spanish fleet, when they failed to rendezvous at Flanders with the Duke of Parma's army. They were driven north and, ultimately, around the tip of the British Isles and south back to Spain.

SpanishArmadaCoins

In an effort to escape, many ships endeavoured to sail round the coast of Scotland and Ireland, but sailed further east than planned, unaware of the Gulf Stream currents, and many ships were lost. This was due not only to extreme wear and tear after their long travels and prolonged battles, but also to navigational errors which saw many ships wrecked against the coastline.

The coins pictured were found on The 'Florida', a galleon that went down in Tobermory Bay, Isle of Mull in 1588.