On 17-2-15 I was able to sample for radiocarbon dating the logboat fragment and bronze spearhead shaft from the Marishcal College Museum (see [[here]] for some background on these objects). We will have the results in the coming weeks (hopefully sometime in April). Getting C14 dating of these objects holds a lot of potential to add some insight into what we know about the history of Loch Kinord.
The logboat fragment’s date is a particular mystery. Logboats were used in Scotland for an incredibly long time, from the Mesolithic (beginning 8-10 thousand years ago) through the medieval period (ending about 400 years ago). They represent some of the only water craft in the archaeological record for much of Scottish prehistory, although it is a pretty safe bet that other types of water craft were used but don’t survive. At least four logboats have been found in Loch Kinord; one was found in the 1960s by some divers, but has not been seen again since. The other three were discovered in the 19th century. The fragment in the collection comes from the logboat that was known at the ‘Royal Yacht’, and it measured over 9 metres long when first discovered. Only the small fragment pictured below survives. Not a single boat from Loch Kinord has been dated by any means. The date will be interesting no matter the result, but it would be especially interesting for my research if it were to date to periods of known activity at Prison and Castle Islands – 9th-10th century AD.
The shaft of the Bronze Spearhead is also an interesting object to date. If the shaft is contemporary with the spearhead (ie. Bronze Age), it would belong to a small group of Bronze Age metalwork that has organic elements of the original object surviving. Bronze Age metalwork is fairly well-known in Scotland through numerous hoard discoveries, other stray finds and well-contextualised excavated material. This material has been extensively studied and typologies have been established that relatively tightly date Bronze Age metalwork. Adding a C14 date to the established typology can continue to test and refine those typologies. For the landscape at Loch Kinord, the forthcoming C14 date will add further data for activity in, on and around the loch, building up information for the history of this place.
A big thank you goes to Caroline and Ray who were so helpful in taking the samples, and also thanks to Neil Curtis, Marishcal College Museum Curator, for granting permission. Funding for the C14 dates has been generously provided by the Aberdeen Humanities Fund.