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between 12:00 Friday 15th December and 12:00 Monday 18th December


Cnoc Leathann

Findspot (20th Century), Bog Butter, Trough

Site Name Cnoc Leathann

Classification Findspot (20th Century), Bog Butter, Trough

Alternative Name(s) Durness

Canmore ID 4829

Site Number NC36SE 14

NGR NC 3871 6384

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2023.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Durness
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Sutherland
  • Former County Sutherland

Archaeology Notes

NC36SE 14 3871 6384.

NC 3871 6384. A rectangular wooden trough of bog butter was found in 1969 by Martin Mackay, Sarsgrim, Durness, when cutting peats. The trough and the butter have been donated to the National Musuem of Antiquities of Scotland (NMAS, Accession no: SHC 9). While the date is quite uncertain, it could be early as a similar trough has come from Loch Glashan crannog (NR99SW 1).

Information contained in letters (with 6" plan) from J Close-Brooks, NMAS.

Carved oak rectangular trough with rim handles, held in the National Museum of Scotland under accession number NMS SHC 9 and dated by radiocarbon to 1110 +/- 80 ad (OxA-3010).

C Earwood 1993.

In 1969 a trough was found in moorland on the E side of the Kyle of Durness, and at an altitude of about 70m OD. After recovery (in a fragmentary and waterlogged condition) it was re-assembled and consolidated with acetone-rosin. It is stored at the Royal Museum of Scotland under accession number NMS SHC 9. It was found to contain an irregular pitted lump of bog butter (NMS SHC 10) which measures 340mm in length and has been dated by radiocarbon to 1110 ? 80 ad (OxA-3010), which determination may be calibrated to about 1212 cal AD.

The trough has been worked from a near-complete section of an oak log and now measures 730mm in length over two prominent flat lugs which are cut straight across the ends. The end walls measure up to about 36mm in thickness and the enclosed cavity is about 480mm long; the object measures up to about 285mm in breadth externally and 186mm internally. The exterior is rounded and the cavity is square-cut at the corners although the sides bow out slightly. The internal depth is about 111mm and the contained volume about six litres.

The vessel generally displays a high standard of workmanship, both interior and exterior surfaces being smooth. Among scratchmarks within the interior there are the marks of what has probably been a metal chisel about 20mm broad. The exterior surface was not accessible at the date of inspection.

RMS accession register: typescript continuation catalogue; J Close-Brooks 198; R E M Hedges, R A Housley, C R Bronk and G J van Klinken 1992; C Earwood 1993; R J C Mowat 1996, visited November 1994.

Archaeology Notes

NC33NE 1 387 368.

RMS SHC 9. Found waterlogged in peat cutting; recovered in pieces and conserved with acetone resin. Worked from one solid log of oak and contained irregular pitted lump of bog butter some 340mm long.

Close-Brooks 1985.

Carved rectangular oak trough with rim handles, dated to 1010 +/- 80 ad (OxA-3010). NMS SHC 9.

C Earwood 1993.

Location cited as NC 40 67. Rectangular handled trough found in peat-cutting 1969 and dated to 960-1260 AD (OxA-3010). NMS SHC 9 (trough) and 10 (butter).

NMRS, MS/996/1.


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