A TEAM of archaeologists have discovered 3,000-year-old weapons on the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Scotland nature reserve on the Isle of Coll in what has been hailed as “the first discovery of this size from Argyll for many years”.

The find, which included broken swords and spearheads, was dug up during an archaeological investigation directed by the Treasure Trove Unit, in co-ordination with National Museums Scotland and the RSPB. To date, 12 objects that may have been used for fighting have been found.

Following the discovery of the ancient weapons, the Treasure Trove unit contacted a handful of museums in the area, which were each then given the opportunity to apply to display the ancient weapons as part of their own collections.

The weapons have since been entrusted to Kilmartin Museum in Argyll for ongoing conservation and care.

An event is being held today and tomorrow at the An Cridhe community centre on the Isle of Coll, which will allow the public to view the finds for the first time.

Trevor Cowie of National Museums Scotland will also give a talk about the discoveries ahead of a question-and-answer session with archaeologists from RSPB Scotland. Representatives from the Kilmartin Museum will also be there to discuss their thoughts about the possibility of future excavations on the island.

Jill Harden, RSPB Scotland reserves archaeologist, said: “This is the first discovery of this size from Argyll for many years. The items were recovered from what had once been a freshwater loch.

“It seems that they had been purposefully broken and cast into the waters as part of a ceremony, most likely as offerings or gifts to the gods or goddesses of the time.”

Cowie, from the National Museum of Scotland’s department of Scottish history and archaeology, said: “While a fair number of objects from this period have been discovered in the west of Scotland in the past, we generally know very little about the precise places where they were found.

“Archaeological techniques have developed dramatically since those 19th-century discoveries were made, so we have a great opportunity here to resolve many unanswered questions about life on Coll some 3,000 years ago.”

The RSPB reserve on Coll was bought in 1991 and covers more than 1,075 hectares of dunes, more bog and machair. The reserve is known for its diverse landscapes and various bird species, including barnacle geese, lapwings, redshanks and white-fronted geese. It is a key site for the rare and secretive corncrake, with it being considered a success story for the protection of the birds.

Corncrake were once widespread across the UK but are now restricted to the islands on the north and the west coast of Scotland, due to the affects of mechanical mowing, which destroys their natural habitat of tall grass.

RSPB Scotland regularly undertakes archaeological studies on its reserves to improve its understanding of Scotland’s environment as a whole.