Loch Awe crannogs 1972 the aftermath

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Not an empty loch

The results of the survey showed that Dwelly's dictionary definition applied to some twenty artificial islands, altered islands, or crannogs in Loch Awe, the longest loch in Scotland.


Suddenly, Blundell's estimates were not so daft after all. Scottish archaeology was faced with a major group of monuments to fit into the landscape. The land around the lochs should now be seen as an adjunct to the water-based settlement, in use by the people who lived on- and offshore.


Next . . .

Where there was one loch with crannogs, there would be more. We had already shown there were crannogs in Loch Tay: Ian had copies of the Fearnan surveys to circulate to other archaeologists as evidence. K and Duncan were heading for Aberdeenshire to breed Highland ponies for the next 35 years, effectively out of the frame. Nick Dixon took over the crannog research, a full survey of Loch Tay showed 18 crannogs . . . more C14 dates . . . and the rest is history. . .


More recent work, including Nick's monumental excavations at Oakbank in Loch Tay, and re-evaluation of earlier excavations, were to show that crannogs were in some cases farmsteads, with animals kept on them, possibly for security. But that's another story. For the present of 1972 we had 'in the bag' twenty crannogs which confirmed a whole group of man-made, probably early, settlements. From then on crannogs could not be ignored and took their place in the wider historical landscape of Scotland.


Crannog research since 1972

Much crannog information now on the web; here are a few places to find out more:

The Scottish Crannog Centre reconstruction of a crannog; displays; research projects
Mark Holley's world of crannog research mainly west-of-Scotland crannogs
Ben Lawers historic landscape project the area around the Loch Tay north-shore crannogs
The Future Museum (Buiston Crannog) re-evaluation of an old crannog excavation
Scottish Wetlands Archaeology Programme active work in crannog surveys and evaluation: Anne Crone et al
Henderson: Survey of Lake of Menteith four crannogs in the only lake in Scotland
Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland the catalogue of articles; all Scottish past, including crannogs
RCAHMS explore database of all Scottish monuments, including, now, crannogs
Edinburgh University Dept of Archaeology check for research, links
Glasgow University Archaeology Dept check for research, links

Loch Awe survey: thanks

Many people helped us set up and carry out the survey, with interest shown from almost every single person.
• the people who live(d) around the loch and actually own the land and crannogs we visited were especially helpful:

Mr W Aldhan

Mr A Carmichael and family

Sir Charles McGrigor, Bart

Mr J Usher

Mr H Winkler

• for much archaeological information and discussion:

Miss Marion Campbell of Kilberry

Miss Mary LS Sandeman

• and for on-the-ground help:

The Forestry Commission: Mr Gordon Davis, District Estate Officer; Mr George Francey, Chief Forester

The former Scottish Hydro-Electric Board's pumping station at Loch Awe, who kept the loch as low as possible and really helped our task


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and of course, although they have by now all retired,
the guys in NACSAC who made it all possible
who now also seem to have a smart new logo (click for their website).

But I can't find many of their annual expeds since 1972
in Scottish freshwater lochs . . .




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