Previous Crannog Research in Northeast Scotland

This will be a short post as there is not much to report here…I consider the northeast for this purpose to be the area made up of the modern council boundaries of Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City, Angus, Dundee City, Fife and Moray. The sum total of crannog excavations carried out in this region (a combined area of 12,189 km2) is two. The latest of these excavations took place in 1868 in Loch Forfar on St. Margaret’s Inch (John Stuart’s account of this excavation). The other took place in 1850 in the Loch of Leys near Banchory, Aberdeenshire. Both of these excavations were carried out by amateur antiquarians, and the results of which, while informative, are not up to modern standards. A good example of this is J. H. Burnett’s account of the Loch of Leys excavation where he laments that a worker ran off with some coins found on the site that day.

Loch of Leys Crannog, Aberdeenshire. Partially excavated in 1850.

Loch of Leys Crannog, Aberdeenshire. The extent of the site is indicated by the two taller trees in the centre of the photograph. The site was partially excavated in 1850.

The identification by sight of several other crannog and possible crannog sites and very minor pre-development excavation on St. Margaret’s Inch in 1995 (report, pg. 12) plus my initial investigations in Loch Kinord, Aberdeenshire comprise all of the crannog research conducted to date in northeast Scotland. There are a number of reasons why so little research has been done, and a large part of my research has been dedicated to better explaining these reasons. But effectively it boils down to the widely accepted map of crannog distribution in Scotland which has considered the whole eastern half of Scotland to be a backwater of crannog construction. However, there definitely are crannogs (and perhaps many more than previously acknowledged) in this region and they deserve further attention.

In the next few posts I will detail the fieldwork I organised in Loch Kinord, Aberdeenshire and the other research I have conducted. Stay tuned!

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