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Archaeological Evaluation

Date September 2019 - October 2019

Event ID 1106567

Category Recording

Type Archaeological Evaluation


NR 42530 68810 Between September and October 2019 two evaluation trenches were excavated at the site of a stone-built crannog (Canmore ID: 38124). Previous work at the site includes survey (DES 1996, 21) and geophysical survey (DES 2017, 53-4), which indicate the presence of three dry-stone structures. A Mesolithic radiocarbon date was obtained from an oak timber protruding from the causeway.

Trench 1 was L-shaped and ran from the outer face of the southernmost Structure A across the south wall and the interior of Structure B, with a dog-leg towards its eastern wall. This revealed a complex sequence of deposits and structures in which Structure A was shown to be earlier than Structure B. A hearth was discovered directly under the wall of Structure B. This was partially excavated and sampled for micromorphology, plant macros and potential sedaDNA analysis. The interior of Structure B was occupied by at least two cellular subterranean structures (STR13 and STR18), which may have been later insertions. These were filled with post-abandonment peat and the rubble and timber from the collapse of the roofs. These were not fully excavated due to insufficient space and rising water. Structure C was not evaluated, but it is likely that it may not have been a separate structure and may represent a part of larger building with Structure B, possibly a roundhouse, with its interior occupied by series of cellular spaces similar to those sampled by Trench 1.

Trench 2, a small rectangular trench against the southern edge of the perimeter wall of the crannog, revealed a well constructed feature of several courses. Column and bulk samples were taken from underneath the crannog wall for dating and other analysis.

A programme of coring was undertaken across the loch to obtain material for palaeoenvironmental analysis.

The project continued to work with the Primary Schools on Islay. The children and teachers from Keills Primary joined the archaeologists for a day of digging, survey and archaeological photography, and Port Charlotte Primary also enjoyed a tour of the site.

Archive: NRHE (intended)

Funder: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland

Darko Maričević, Rob Batchelor and Alison MacLeod - Islay Heritage and University of Reading

(Source: DES Vol 20)

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