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Dorman's Island, Whitefield Loch

Crannog (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Dorman's Island, Whitefield Loch

Classification Crannog (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 62160

Site Number NX25NW 21

NGR NX 2375 5502

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/62160

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

  • Council Dumfries And Galloway
  • Parish Old Luce
  • Former Region Dumfries And Galloway
  • Former District Wigtown
  • Former County Wigtownshire

Archaeology Notes

NX25NW 21 2375 5502

Not to be confused with NX25NW 11 or NX25NW 12.

(NX 2375 5502) Dorman's Island (NAT)

Lake Dwelling (Site of) (NR)

OS 6" map (1957)

A crannog connected to the south shore of the loch by a causeway 56' long and 3' wide. Wilson noted mortised oak beams and stakes as well as a ring of stones, 40' in diameter, around the margin and rough paving 12' by 8' on both the north and the SW sides. The crannog has not been excavated. A hammer stone in Dumfries Museum and a small finger-ring of stone in the NMAS (Acc No HT63) may have come from this crannog but this is not certain as each is located only to 'a crannog' in this loch.

G Wilson 1873; G Wilson 1899; NMAS 1892; Proc Soc Antiq Scot 1889; RCAHMS 1912, visited 1911; A E Truckell 1966.

NX 2375 5502 This crannog is inaccessible and covered in trees. The causeway however, is still visible just below the surface of the water, on the S shore of the loch.

Surveyed at 1:10 000.

Visited by OS (BS) 26 June 1976.

Dorman's Island, Whitefield Loch (Bladnoch catchment): location cited as NX 2375 5502.

In 1873, this crannog was noted in the SE corner of Whitefield Loch. Its remains were surveyed in July 2002 during the 2nd phase of the South-West Scotland Crannog Survey, with the intention of establishing an effective system of monitoring the rate of organic decay. Further monitoring was recommended on the grounds of active biological degradation and recent erosion. Sampling and detailed record of the exposed sections on the NW are recommended.

This tree-covered island lies off the S shore of the loch, and measures about 50m in diameter. The crannog comprises a clearly-defined mound of stones with sides shelving to a depth of 2.5m underwater. A causeway (about 1.5m wide) joins the crannog to the S shore, while a ring of stones (measuring about 8 or 10m in extent) encircles the island. Both vertical and horizontal timbers were visible among the stones. Oak piles were noted in the surrounding silts, and projected up to 1m above the silt levels. The timbers remaining in situ were heavily infested by freshwater mollusca, while the tops of the two piles sampled had been eaten away by these creatures.

Timbers were particularly exposed on the NW side of the island, possibly because of wave action. Eroding sections were noted at three points within this area. The exposed stratigraphy comprised a layer of stones over inorganic silt and grit, which in turn overlay rich organic deposits, including structural timbers, plant matter, dung, twigs, wood chips, charcoal and hazelnut shells. In at least one section, vertical piles could be seen driven through horizontal members. Erosion on this side could ultimately undermine the large trees on the island, causing further damage to the archaeological evidence.

J C Henderson, B A Crone and M G Cavers 2003.

NX 238 550 An evaluatory excavation was carried out at Dorman's Island crannog in Whitefield Loch in November 2006. Three trial trenches were excavated on the dry area of the island, to the S, W and N. Beneath a layer of large stones, the S trench encountered large horizontal timbers in an organic matrix containing roundwood fragments, hazelnut shells and woodchips. The N trench encountered similar deposits, but these were overlain by a layer of blue-grey clay, possibly deposited as a hearth foundation in a similar fashion to other south-western crannogs. The W trench was the most productive, where four upright stakes were discovered in association with horizontal hazel rods and compact organic deposits which may represent occupation levels. Further work would be required to establish the extent and character of these structures, however. Finds from the trenches included two small fragments of blue and yellow glass bracelet, a hammer stone and several pieces of worked wood.

Archive to be deposited in NMRS.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland.

Graeme Cavers, 2006.

Activities

Archaeological Evaluation (November 2006)

NX 238 550 An evaluatory excavation was carried out at Dorman's Island crannog in Whitefield Loch in November 2006. Three trial trenches were excavated on the dry area of the island, to the S, W and N. Beneath a layer of large stones, the S trench encountered large horizontal timbers in an organic matrix containing roundwood fragments, hazelnut shells and woodchips. The N trench encountered similar deposits, but these were overlain by a layer of blue-grey clay, possibly deposited as a hearth foundation in a similar fashion to other south-western crannogs. The W trench was the most productive, where four upright stakes were discovered in association with horizontal hazel rods and compact organic deposits which may represent occupation levels. Further work would be required to establish the extent and character of these structures, however. Finds from the trenches included two small fragments of blue and yellow glass bracelet, a hammer stone and several pieces of worked wood.

Archive to be deposited in NMRS.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland.

G Cavers 2006

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