by Richard Guest
The Crannogs project has now been running for a couple of years. Starting as a desktop exercise, we have now progressed to some site investigation and have managed a couple of dives.
A second phase of desktop study is underway and a picture of potential crannog occurrence in Wester Ross, Lochaber and Badenoch is beginning to emerge. Wester Ross has been a real challenge to study, with literally thousands of lochs and lochans, liberally scattered with innumerable islands. Many of these will be natural and picking out those which may be man made is no easy task.
Loch Achilty crannog (HER MHG7791, Canmore 12472) being easily accessible, had already been snorkelled and this verified that it was an artificial island, so it was chosen as the first proper dive. Duncan Ross from the Nautical Archaeology Society joined me for two days diving in August and you can find his blog on the experience elsewhere on the website, so I will not go into too much detail. Travelling in the good ship “Haggis” of the Blackburn line, (a tiny rowing boat ably skippered by Dave Coombs) escorted by the canoes of James McComas and Steve North, we made landfall on the crannog, donned our dive gear and plunged in.
We were able to find several substantial timbers embedded in the silt at the base of the stone mound, at a depth of only about two metres. What these are, is open to debate but some of them appear to go underneath the stones so are probably part of the original construction. There is certainly the potential to take a small sample for carbon dating and the NOSAS committee will need to decide whether the project is to go in this direction, or whether we continue to just observe and survey.Continue reading