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An Ogham-inscribed plaque from Bornais, South Uist

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Chapter Summary

The ogham-inscribed plaque was discovered in 1996 during excavation of a large and complex multi-period settlement site at Bornais on the machair plain of South Uist. The excavations were part of a decade-long investigation by archaeologists from the Universities of Cardiff and Sheffield under Niall Sharples, 1994-2004. The inscribed object is part of a small plaque carefully formed from a sliver of bone (possibly bovine metapodial). It is 44 mm in length, 2 mm thick, and tapers from 11 mm to 8 mm wide. It is fractured at both ends. The extant section comprises three fragments which fit together exactly. The Bornais ogham offers two internal clues to the direction of reading: unfortunately these appear to be contradictory. The earliest ogham inscriptions, including all those in Ireland, have B-and H-consonant strokes, respectively, above and below the stem-line, which are perpendicular to the stem.

Keywords: Bornais; ogham-inscribed plaque; South Uist



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