The Archaeological Park of Cava d'Ispica is located in the northern part of the valley which is extended among large and impressive gorges for about 14km. The monumental archaeological evidences which are currently visible have been found thanks to the excavations in the rock and they can be ascribed to three periods: the prehistoric period, the Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages.
Evidences of the Ancient Bronze Age (the Castelluccio age which dates back to 2200- 1450 BC) are a number of settlements scattered along the valley, with oven tombs necropolis. Among them, there is the necropolis of Baravitalla, located in the northern part of the quarry, with a monumental well preserved tomb, with a façade decorated with ten pillars. In the above plain, the remains of the village have been found, together with the original archaeological finds (e.g. plates with spheres) and numerous terracotta ornaments.
Even during the Late Antiquity, the valley featured an impressive necropolis with catacombs and small burial tombs. Among them, there is the Larderia catacomb, which is divided into three aisles and contains more than 400 burial graves, dating back to the 4th and 5th century A.D. Other Christian evidences can be found in the other burial area called “Camposanto caves”.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.