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Loch Migdale

Crannog (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Loch Migdale

Classification Crannog (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Lochend

Canmore ID 14028

Site Number NH69SW 39

NGR NH 6259 9159

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/14028

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Creich (Sutherland)
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Sutherland
  • Former County Sutherland

Archaeology Notes

NH69SW 39 6259 9159.

At the W end of Loch Migdale, some 60 yards from the shore, is an islet which appears to be artificial. It is formed of boulders laid on clay and is some 63' in diameter. The loch is shallow towards the landward side, but deep on the outer sides. The island is said to have been occupied in 1630.

RCAHMS 1911, visited 1909.

A crannog at NH 6259 9159. It is a mound of stones c. 22.0m in diameter and c. 2.0m deep (plumbed with oar). At the time of investigation the loch was high and it was awash, and nothing could be seen of its construction. There is no causeway.

Visited by OS (A A) 21 October 1969.

The crannog is as described. It is composed solely of large stones and stood 0.4m above the loch when visited. It is positioned partly on a natural shallowing in the loch.

Visited by OS (J B) 9 September 1980.

(NH 625 915) In April 2003 a stone mound in Loch Migdale was examined to establish whether it is of artificial construction and therefore a crannog.

One of two trenches was sited underwater on the NE side of the site, 1.6m under the surface. Removal of large stones uncovered a layer of smaller stones, roughly fist-sized, which in turn covered a layer of very small stones embedded in sandy silt. Removal of this deposit brought to light a layer of organic material with a variety of embedded timbers, showing the site to be of artificial construction.

The layer of organic material proved to be consistent over the exposed 1 x 2m extent of the trench, and contained ten timbers of some significance, including both oak and alder. Of particular interest were the remains of four small stakes, three of them aligned, with one cut to a point. However, there were many smaller fragments of wood and other timbers that may be significant but were still buried within the organic matrix. Bracken, twigs, burnt bone, charcoal, an animal tooth and one animal dropping were also noted.

It is likely that the deposit was once a floor on what would have been the living area of the crannog, and that it has slumped or collapsed down to its present position. Four samples of the organic matrix, taken for laboratory analysis, contain macro-plant remains, pollen and insects that will hopefully demonstrate the way of life of the crannog dwellers and the manner in which they exploited the environment around them. A radiocarbon date from one of the timbers places the site in the Iron Age.

Archive to be deposited with the NMRS.

Sponsors: Time Team, Scottish Trust for Underwater Archaeology.

N Dixon 2003

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