Currently, there are at least 21 known archaeology sites on the islands, spread across the Dutchman’s Cap, Lunga, Fladda, Cairn na Burgh Mor and Cairn na Burgh Beag. These include two medieval chapels, a 15th- or 16th-century castle and an 18th-century barracks.

The earliest reference to Cairn na Burgh Castle appears in a Norse saga – The Saga of Haakon Haakonarson – that was composed in the second half of the 13th century. It tells how King Haakon IV of Norway assigned ‘Cairnburgh Castle’ to Ewan MacDougall in 1249. The remains of the curtain walls that can be seen today on Cairn na Burgh Mor and Cairn na Burgh Beag date from the 1600s, when the region was under the control of John MacDonald of Islay, Lord of the Isles. It remained a strategically important place after the 1715 Jacobite Rising, and visitors can still see the huge defensive walls and barracks built as a garrison for government troops on Cairn na Burgh Mor.

On Lunga you can also visit the remains of a small settlement in the north of the island, where a community built their homes, barns and kiln some time before the late-1800s.