Did Scotland’s Cólaaqoorachte Desai set fire to prehistoric Loop o’ Magee peninsula?

Written by By Havergal Matt. Updated 7 December.

Video by Giulio Parri.

A fire that burned for thousands of years on the edge of Scotland’s Loop o’ Magee peninsula may have been deliberately set, according to researchers. Northern Humberside Museum in Meltham used Google Earth to search for such fires around the Blackheath Tees and the Loch Ness Pit on the northern edge of the Loop o’ Magee. The research team believe what they have found may have been lit around 6,000 years ago. The Caledonian Ship Ness, which sank in 649, may have been responsible for the blaze. Archaeologists believe the Blackheath Tees was no more than a shallow channel. The information gathered by the research team suggests it may have been a section of the Cólaaqoorachte Desai map, compiled in the ninth century. This shows the Blackheath Tees in northwest Scotland. These trees were felled for the first time in around 6,000 years to feed a fire on the north pole Linking the two dates was an interesting discovery, researchers say. It suggests the fire date went as far back as around 8,000 years ago, but in contrast with most early millenniums, the so-called Blackheath Tees is now rediscovered in the 10th Century. The Caledonian Ship Ness, the last Royal Navy ship to sink, probably fuelled the fire, said Dr David Lonsdale, of the Māori Climate Research Foundation and director of the Northern Humberside Museum. “Following this mystery fire we do not know whether the apparent remnants of the original site that we see on Google Earth represent the charred remains of past Norse sailors,” he said. The calcite-rich sands and soils on the northern tip of the Loop o’ Magee would help the reconstruction of what the Blackheath Tees or Cólaaqoorachte Desai looked like, he added. “Our recent genetic work with deep sea sediment samples from the Cólaaqoorachte Desai are important to our understanding of human migration as there were no humans on this ancient landscape in prehistoric times,” he said.

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