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Milton Loch

Crannog (Period Unassigned), Logboat (Possible)

Site Name Milton Loch

Classification Crannog (Period Unassigned), Logboat (Possible)

Alternative Name(s) Milton Loch 1

Canmore ID 65046

Site Number NX87SW 4

NGR NX 8388 7188

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/65046

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Dumfries And Galloway
  • Parish Urr
  • Former Region Dumfries And Galloway
  • Former District Stewartry
  • Former County Kirkcudbrightshire

Archaeology Notes

NX87SW 4 8388 7188

See also NX87SW 5 and NX87SW 15.

(NX 8388 7188) Lake Dwelling (NR)

OS 6" map (1957)

A crannog was revealed in 1953 at the NW end of Milton Loch, when the level of that loch was lowered. It was then excavated by Piggott. The crannog appears as a low, circular, stone-covered island 35' in diameter, joined to the shore by a ragged double line of posts protruding from the soft mud. The house itself was floored with a great number of timbers, its roof was supported on several rings of posts, and the outer wall was made by resting split timbers between pairs of uprights. The interior was divided radially into compartments, and subdivided; the hearth of clay and stones was placed not far from the centre. The timbers forming the floor of the house were extended outside all the way round to form a platform about 6' wide, supported from beneath by piles. The causeway led directly from the door of the house to the shore, 100' away to the W. On the opposite side of the house from the causeway, wooden piles and mounds of stones were visible under the surface of the water when the excavation was in progress. These formed a dock c.35' wide by a little less in length, with its entrance in the SE, facing the open water of the loch.

No trace of a solid base of boulders could be detected by probing immediately under the floor of the house, and Piggott concluded that if any had ever existed it must have been separated from the floor of the house by a great layer of timbers.

The objects recovered included a pre-Roman ard head and stilt (now in the NMAS), which was almost certainly deposited deliberately beneath the house foundations as a votive offering; also part of a rotary quern of a type attributable to the 1st century AD, and an enamelled bronze loop dateable to the 2nd Century AD. It is difficult to find parallels for this loop from Britain, there are fairly comparable examples among the bronze made in Pannonia and nearby territories. As it is known that Pannonian auxiliaries were posted in North Britain, it is reasonable to suppose that it was acquired from a member of the army of occupation.

A collection of wooden material including a fish-club, mallet-head and two slotted planks, found by Dumfries sub-aqua club in the harbour of this crannog, is in Dumfries Museum.

C M Piggott 1955; R W Feachem 1963; A Fenton 1968; A E Truckell 1969

At present the level of Milton Loch is unusually low and it is possible to walk to this crannog. The island measures 14.0m east-west by 16.0m and can still be seen to have been constructed of laid timbers and upright posts. On the east and south other upright posts and large slabs of rock, some of which may represent a harbour, protrude from beneath the water.

Resurveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (BS) 7 November 1973

Small fragment of a quern, probably bun-shaped.

E J MacKie 1971

Listed among a number of crannogs examined, and from which timber samples were taken on behalf of, and funded by SDD (HBM, Historic Scotland).

T N Dixon 1989.

In 1953 a crannog (Milton Loch 1) was excavated near the NW side of Milton Loch which is situated in the Galloway Hills at an altitude of about 125m OD. There was a possible dock on the SE side of the structure.

Excavation of this crannog revealed extensive timber framing supporting a single house with a central hearth, an access-causeway and a possible dock. An enamelled dress-fastener of about the 2nd century AD was found in excavation.

The following radiocarbon determinations have been obtained:

1. Structural pile of Quercus from unstated location. 490 ? 100 bc K-2027 (Calibration yields multiple results in the range 755-537 cal BC).

2. Quercus ard-stilt buried beneath foundations. 400 ? 100 bc K-1394 (Calibration yields a date of 400 cal BC).

3. Pile from unstated location. 130 ? 50 bc GU-2648 Calibration yields a date of 105 cal BC.

Although it has been suggested that the deposition of the dress-fastener post-dated the occupation, the possibility of a protracted or repeated occupation cannot be excluded.

What were possibly the remains of a logboat were found re-used as the threshold of the house, but were apparently neither recorded in detail nor preserved. This artifact measured about 4m in length and had been smoothed on one side but had suffered from rot on the other. Squared mortices had been cut into it at points 5'6" (1.68m) apart and the published plan indicates further working.

C M Piggott 1953; C M Guido 1974; R J C Mowat 1996.

As the underwater component of Phase 2 of the South West Crannog Survey, the state of preservation of 14 crannog sites was evaluated in 12 lochs throughout Dumfries and Galloway as part of the Scottish Wetland Archaeology Programme (SWAP).

NX 8388 7188 The site survives as a tree-covered island measuring 14m E-W by 16m. Oak piles and horizontals can be located in the water in all directions from the island. Extensive biological activity in the form of boring organisms, algae and aquatic plants can be seen on the surfaces of all exposed timbers. Around 20 oak piles were seen on the N and W margins of the site, all of which display evidence of biological degradation. In addition, some 40 loose horizontal timbers were found in the water, presumably having eroded off the site or perhaps due to C M Piggott's excavations in the 1950s.

Sponsors: HS, Scottish Trust for Archaeological Research, AOC Archaeology Group, University of Edinburgh

M G Cavers and J C Henderson 2002.

Milton Loch 1 (Urr catchment): location cited as NX 8388 7188.

In 1953, this crannog was revealed at the NW end of this loch, when the level of the loch was lowered. It was subsequently excavated by [C M] Piggott revealing structural evidence in the form of an extensive timber framing supporting a single house with a central hearth, a causeway and a possible dock. Finds of the 1st and 2nd centuries AD were recovered, while two pre-Roman radiocarbon dates were obtained [from unstated contexts]: 2350 +/- 100 bp [400 bc] (K-1394) and 2440 +/- 100 bp [490 bc] (K-2027). The site was dived in 1989 and a pile sampled for radiocarbon dating; a determination of 2080 +/- 50 bc [130 bc] (GU-2648) was obtained.

The remains of this crannog 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. Given the indications of active degradation, it was recommended for continued monitoring.

This crannog survives as a tree-covered island (measuring about 16m from N-S by 14m transversely) at the NW end of the loch. About 20 oak piles were noted on the N and W margins of the monument, while about 40 further timbers can be located in the water in all directions from the island. Extensive biological degradation in the forms of boring organisms, algae and aquatic plants was noted on the surfaces of all the exposed timbers.

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

The second season of the South West Crannog Survey Phase 2 was carried out in September 2003 (DES 2002, 25-7) and comprised detailed digital survey of submerged and dry areas of selected crannog sites in Dumfries and Galloway. Small-scale underwater excavations were also carried out in order to stabilise and record exposed eroding timbers. The project was conducted by the Underwater Archaeology Research Centre as part of the Scottish Wetland Archaeology Programme (SWAP).

NX 8388 7188. A survey was carried out of timber remains on the Milton Loch I site. A total of 86 oak timbers were visible above the heavy silting around the site. An arc of vertical piles was traced around the N and NW of the site, probably representing the perimeter of the crannog, though this was discontinuous and disappeared beneath the silt and reeds. A short double row of piles projecting from the site towards the shore probably represents the remains of the walkway recorded by Piggott (PSAS 1952-53, 134-52).

Full report to be lodged with the NMRS.

Sponsors: HS, Scottish Trust for Archaeological Research, Nottingham University, AOC Archaeology Group.

J C Henderson and M G Cavers 2003

A third season of fieldwork and survey (see DES 2003, 42-3) on selected crannog sites in Dumfries and Galloway was carried out in July 2004 as part of the Scottish Wetland Archaeology Programme (SWAP). This comprised the underwater examination of six crannog sites selected for monitoring, the installation and surveying of monitoring probes at those sites, and the sampling of timbers from Loch Heron for radiocarbon dating.

NX 1206 6047 Cults Loch (Inch parish), NX16SW 14.

NX 2717 6482 Loch Heron (Kirkcowan parish), NX26SE 2.

NX 9028 6898 Loch Arthur (New Abbey parish), NX96NW 1.

NX 2047 5631 Whitefield Loch (Old Luce parish), NX25NW 7.

NX 2595 5915 Barhapple Loch (Old Luce parish), NX25NE 2.

NX 2047 5631 Barlockhart (Old Luce parish), NX25NW 7.

NX 8388 7188 Milton Loch (Urr parish), NX87SW 4.

Sponsors: HS, Scottish Trust for Archaeological Research, University of Nottingham, AOC Archaeology Group, Underwater Archaeology Research Centre.

J Henderson and M G Cavers 2004.

Activities

Diver Inspection (July 2004 - July 2004)

A third season of fieldwork and survey (see DES 2003, 42-3) on selected crannog sites in Dumfries and Galloway was carried out in July 2004 as part of the Scottish Wetland Archaeology Programme (SWAP). This comprised the underwater examination of six crannog sites selected for monitoring, the installation and surveying of monitoring probes at those sites, and the sampling of timbers from Loch Heron for radiocarbon dating.

NX 1206 6047 Cults Loch (Inch parish), NX16SW 14.

NX 2717 6482 Loch Heron (Kirkcowan parish), NX26SE 2.

NX 9028 6898 Loch Arthur (New Abbey parish), NX96NW 1.

NX 2047 5631 Whitefield Loch (Old Luce parish), NX25NW 7.

NX 2595 5915 Barhapple Loch (Old Luce parish), NX25NE 2.

NX 2047 5631 Barlockhart (Old Luce parish), NX25NW 7.

NX 8388 7188 Milton Loch (Urr parish), NX87SW 4.

Sponsors: HS, Scottish Trust for Archaeological Research, University of Nottingham, AOC Archaeology Group, Underwater Archaeology Research Centre.

J Henderson and M G Cavers 2004.

References

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