Gibil Gabib is an archaeological site located about 5 km south of Caltanissetta, on a 615-metre-high mountain.
Excavations were first undertaken in the area in the middle of the 19th century and were reprised with great enthusiasm in the 1950s by the archaeologist Dinu Adameșteanu. They came to an end in 1984. In those undertaken in the middle of the 20th century, remains dating to the 6th century BC were brought to light, including parts of the city walls and some ceramic objects of the Bronze Age Castelluccio culture, while the 1980s excavations revealed a defensive tower from the middle of the 6th century BC. These discoveries were of great significance, because they helped to clarify the course of the city wall discovered almost thirty years earlier.
Objects discovered in the excavations include vases, objects for everyday use, plates and lamps, as well as a terracotta statue of a female divinity and the terracotta head, which demonstrate the existence of various spaces dedicated to religious cult. At the base of the mountain, there is a necropolis, where Siceliote red-figure pottery was found.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.