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Loch Rannoch, Eilean Nam Faoileag

Crannog (Period Unassigned), Tower (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Loch Rannoch, Eilean Nam Faoileag

Classification Crannog (Period Unassigned), Tower (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 24277

Site Number NN55NW 3

NGR NN 53049 57694

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/24277

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
© Copyright and database right 2017.

Administrative Areas

  • Council Perth And Kinross
  • Parish Fortingall
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Perth And Kinross
  • Former County Perthshire

Archaeology Notes

NN55NW 3 53049 57694

There are two small islands in the upper end of Loch Rannoch. The east and larger one is wholly artificial resting upon large beams of wood fixed to each other. It was used as a refuge and a prison. There is a very narrow road to it from a point on the S side which is always covered by 3 or 4ft of water.

NSA 1845

In the centre of Loch Rannoch is an island of stones evidently taken from the shore. (A photograph of the island shows a tower, presumably that published on OS 6" as Eilean nam Faoileag - NN 5305 5770).

F O Blundell 1913

Eilean nam Faoileag is a completely stone built island now measuring 17.0m NS by 10.0m transversely. A considerable part of the island lies beneath the surface of the Loch which has been raised at least 6ft in the last 30 years. According to local information the sand bank on which it is constructed sweeps round in a gradual curve to meet the S shore and prior to the raising of the loch it formed a causeway just below the water.

The tower, which still stands in fair condition, is reputed to have been built in the 19th century by a Baron Granbley and is said to be a reconstruction of a small island prison of the Robertsons of Struan (SDD List).

Visited by OS (RD) 3 July 1969.

In 2004, a new initiative was set up to examine crannogs in Perthshire. The county has a wide range of geological conditions and the difference in types of lochs reflects this. Some are shallow with farmland and natural woodlands while others are deeper, often with more barren surroundings. The range is likely to produce crannogs of different forms and possibly different functions. The surviving Pont manuscript maps (1580s¿90s) and the Blaeu atlas (1654) show many thousands of settlements, including loch dwellings. The work in the summer of 2004 involved surveying a series of these islands and, where possible, collecting samples for dating evidence. The results produced a range of dates from the Early Iron Age up to the recent past. All the dates quoted are preliminary and so, at present, have no laboratory number.

NN 531 577 Loch Rannoch, Eilean nam Faoilaig (NN55NW 3). On an island at the W end of the loch is a mound of stones supporting a small tower. There are references to occupation of the island from the middle of the 15th century until the middle of the 17th century; the tower is a 19th-century folly. Pont also shows a building.

A large oak timber, lying partly embedded under the stones on the E side of the mound, and wood from lower down on the W side were sampled for radiocarbon dating. The oak gave a date of 840±60 BP (AD 1110) and the lower sample produced 660±50 BP (AD 1290). Both dates are clearly earlier than the literature would suggest, which is not particularly surprising since the references are to occupation not construction of the island.

Sponsors: Perth & Kinross Heritage Trust, Scottish Trust for Underwater Archaeology, Mr Halliwell, Tom Coope, Mr Brian Souter, Drummond Estates, Mr Orrock.

N Dixon and M Shelley 2004

A summary of the work carried out by the Scottish Trust for Underwater Archaeology in 2004 is included in The University of Edinburgh's 50th Annual Report, 2004.

N Dixon 2004.

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