taking our culture forward
Allan Skillan

Allan Skillan


The prestigious Reih Bleeaney Vanannan Trophy for 1999, awarded by Culture Vannin, went to Mr Allan Skillan of Andreas for his outstanding work in furthering our knowledge of the Island’s prehistory.

For twenty years prior to winning the award, Allan Skillan methodically walked many hundreds of Manx fields, criss-crossing them in the search for evidence of early habitation. He had many remarkable finds including flints, arrow heads, axe heads, pottery and other artefacts from the Island’s earliest times. His finds have led to a number of important excavations on the northern plain, which in turn have produced a rich collection of material that is now housed in the Manx Museum’s reference collection.

Allan painstakingly recorded all his finds on large-scale maps, which have proved to be an invaluable source of information for archaelogists. Allan’s sensitivity towards carrying out fieldwork means that he has had a consistently good relationship with the farming community who allow him onto their land.

Allan has also recorded archaeological sites eroding out of the cliffs at Ballaugh Cronk, Phurt and Bride. His finds cover periods ranging from Mesolithic times, through the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages up to the Mediaeval period on the Island.

In a totally unassuming way, Allan Skillan has made a remarkable contribution to the furtherance of knowledge about the Island’s prehistory. All at Culture Vannin were delighted that his dedicated work was recognised by the awarding of the Reih Bleeaney Vanannan for 1999.

As winner of the Reih Bleeaney Vanannan, Allan was invited to name a Manx cultural cause that would receive a donation of £500 from the Foundation. He requested that the money be donated to the Billown Dig in Malew, which took place during the following summer.