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William Galloway and the Viking Boat-Burial at Kiloran Bay

Ordinary Meeting of Fellows (Fellows and Guests Only)

William Galloway and the Viking Boat-Burial at Kiloran Bay, Colonsay (1882/84)

Lecture by Professor James Graham-Campbell FSA.

William Galloway (1832-97), the Scottish architect and antiquary, delivered two unpublished papers to the Society of Antiquaries of London (10 May 1883 and 25 June 1885) on the subject of a Viking boat-burial recently excavated in sand-dunes at Kiloran Bay (Colonsay). The first paper was concerned with its accidental discovery in 1882, by Malcolm McNeill, and the second with his own excavation, in 1884, of a horse skeleton, immediately outside the stone-lined burial enclosure examined by McNeill. In the second paper, he also reported on his discovery of two cross-incised slabs and on three Northumbrian stycas (chance finds resulting from erosion following the original investigation). No text of the first paper survives, but the Society possesses three watercolour drawings (Brown Portfolio 20.71), by Rosa Wallis, of the finds (dated 1883) which Galloway had brought to London for display that year at the International Fisheries Exhibition (together with a 'Plan and Section' drawn by him from measurements provided by McNeill). The latter is amongst the Galloway papers preserved by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, together with a fair copy of the text of his 1885 paper read at Burlington House in London. In 1885, Galloway's paper was illustrated with his own watercolour plan of his excavation, showing the horse skeleton, together with a life-size detail of its injured leg and drawings of the cross-incised slabs, which are preserved by the Society (Brown Portfolio L5.42).

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