Underwater Archaeology Research Centre
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Mid Argyll and Lorn

In 2003 a survey was undertaken of several crannog sites in Mid Argyll and Lorn.

This survey was undertaken to document the nature of the crannog settlement record in this area and the variety of crannog types that may survive.

Eleven sites throughout Mid Argyll and Lorn were investigated during the course of the survey in 2003

Project overview

The survey of Loch Awe, carried out in the 1970s by Morrison, McArdle and McArdle was the first crannog survey conducted in Scotland. However, the results of this survey were useful only in terms of illustrating sizes and shapes of the sites in the loch. Little attempt was made to understand important differences and similarities between the sites.

Therefore, to compliment and enhance the usefulness of the Loch Awe survey results, crannog sites throughout Argyll and Bute were targeted for survey in 2003. This aimed to be a step towards documenting the variety of the loch settlement record in Scotland.

It is now clear that the term 'crannog' has been used injudiciously within Scottish archaeological terminology, and that sites of different character and chronology have been largely overlooked. 

Project methodology

Eleven sites throughout Mid Argyll and Lorn were investigated during the course of the survey in 2003.

These are sites in: Loch Leathan, Loch Coille-Bharr, Loch Ederline, Dubh Loch, Loch Avich, Loch Seil, Loch Eck, Loch Nell Barnacarry and Loch Nell Rubha na Moine. On the Isle of Bute, two crannogs in Loch Quien were also recorded.

Digital surveys were carried out in order to provide accurate digital elevation models of the sites. Radiocarbon dates were obtained from timber samples from five of the sites; three of these showed a spread through the first millennium BC, while the third and fourth were in the Early Historic and Medieval periods.

These results reflect the longevity of crannogs as a traditional form of settlement in Western Scotland, while the survey results indicated the different styles of construction and possible utilisation of these sites throughout their existence that signpost the changes in the role of crannongs through time in Argyll (for more information see Cavers 2010.


Project team

Dr Jon Henderson (University of Nottingham)

Graeme Cavers (AOC Archaeology Group)


Underwater Archaeology Research Centre

The University of Nottingham
School of Humanities
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4842