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18 September 2014
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Reconstructing Oakbank Crannog

By Barrie Andrian
Image of Scottish Crannog Centre, Loch Tay, Scotland
Scottish Crannog Centre, Loch Tay, Scotland ©

Excavations in Loch Tay, Scotland, revealed the remains of a crafted Iron Age dwelling. How were these remains interpreted to create the lifelike reconstruction in existence today?

Pioneering excavations

Crannogs, or artificial islands, are found throughout the lochs of Scotland and Ireland. In Scotland they were ‘rediscovered’ in the 19th century as a result of landowners draining small lochs to gain more agricultural land.

Following a detailed survey in Loch Tay in 1979, the early Iron Age site of Oakbank Crannog, off the village of Fearnan, was selected for pioneering underwater investigation. During several short seasons, this first ever underwater excavation of a crannog revealed well preserved 2,500-year-old structural timbers, domestic utensils, food remains and textile fragments.

The discovery of so many clues about our Iron Age ancestors was exciting, but how best to interpret them? This is the story of how evidence found at the bottom of a loch led to the reconstruction of a crannog four miles from the original site.

Published: 2005-01-25

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