Loch Glashan Crannog
List of Sites
Modern reconstruction of a crannog on Loch Tay
The crannog was excavated in 1960 when the water level of Loch Glashan was reduced for the construction of a dam for a hydro-electric scheme. Pottery from the site has been dated to the 6th-8th centuries. Further investigations are scheduled for summer 2003.
The crannog is situated just to the south of a small island in the loch, and about 40 metres from the shore. Large numbers of the original logs of its structure - mostly oak, but some silver birch - survive under water. The sub-floor of a rectangular timber building was identified, with massive timbers trimmed and levelled into a floor, measuring about 7.5 by 4.5 metres. Some patches of clay may be the remains of domestic hearths.
Artefacts included many wooden objects, including a paddle, a bucket, a scoop, several bowls, a trough, a spoon and a spindle-whorl. Pottery included several pieces of E-ware.
Also found on the crannog site was a bronze brooch of 8th century style, which had once contained amber which was probably imported from the Baltic. Evidence of metal working was found, including a crucible and some pieces of slag.
Numerous leather fragments were found, indicating that there was a leather workshop at the site. Some pieces of worked leather were at first identified as having once formed a 'jerkin'. This has recently been called into question and preservation and new analysis of these pieces by AOC Archaeology suggest that they may in fact be part of a book-satchel. (1) The stretch marks on the leather where the straps were once attached are now visible.
The appearance of a book-satchel may indicate the presence of clergy or monks at the crannog - they were the men who used books - but there is no need to assume that they were ordinarily resident there. There are many church-sites [link to 'Monastic and Episcopal' essay] n the Kilmartin Glen and beyond from which a cleric may have come to Loch Glashan. The presence of many other leather fragments, some of them extremely thin, may also suggest Loch Glashan crannog was producing that extra fine skin or 'vellum' which was used for making manuscripts.
1 The identification of the leather fragments as a jerkin was first questioned by Dr Colleen Batey of Glasgow, and the preservation and analysis of the material, and the suggestion that it is the remains of a book satchel, were the
- RCAHMS Argyll vol. 6 no.354
- Discovery and Excavation in Scotland (1960), 809
- Discovery and Excavation in Scotland (1961), 5-7
- Campbell and Sandeman, 62, no. 398; 120, no 56c.
- Campbell and Crone (forthcoming)
Check out the following sections of the website for related information
Mid-Argyll Sites and Artefacts
Mayo - Vestvågøy - Mid-Argyll
This project has been supported by the EU as part of the Culture 2000 programme.