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Eadarloch

Trough

Site Name Eadarloch

Classification Trough

Alternative Name(s) Loch Treig

Canmore ID 78980

Site Number NN37NW 3

NGR NN 347 768

NGR Description NN c. 347 768

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/78980

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Kilmonivaig
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Lochaber
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes

NN37NW 3 NN c. 347 768

For crannog and possible logboat from Eadarloch, see NN37NW 1 and NN37NW 2 respectively. For discussion of the circumstances and topographical situation of the discovery of this artifact, see NN37NW 2.

Rectangular carved oak trough with rim handles. Held in the West Highland Museum, Fort William, under accession number WHM (1930) 2250 and tentatively attributed to the mid-late first millennium AD.

C Earwood 1993.

The smaller of the two timber objects from Eadarloch that are displayed in the West Highland Museum, Fort William, was probably a bog butter trough.

As currently displayed, the object measures 1.67m in length over all, up to 0.3m in breadth and 0.26m in depth externally. The upper surface is continued over the square ends in the form of horizontal projections. The hollowed portion is noticeably rectangular on plan and square in section, measuring 1.39m in length and 0.25m in breadth at the top of the sides. The flat bottom is 0.16m below the tops of the vertical sides and the ends slope inwards, making the capacity about 50 litres. The timber, which is prominently-grained, has previously been identified as oak and has suffered slight splitting; the sloping ends of the hollowed section display medullary rays and there are two knots in the bottom. The pronounced toolmarks in the lower part of one of the sloping ends probably result from undercutting strokes with an adze or similar metal tool, but the exterior has not been smoothed and there are no thickness-gauge holes. The McGrail morphology code is 151:111:151.

The function of this object has been much discussed. Ritchie suggested, on the basis of Irish parallels, that it was possibly a child's boat, a portable food-trough or a logboat used for the transport of building materials, while Sayce compares it with other recorded cooking-troughs. The presence of two probable portage-handles is unparalleled but need not be conclusive evidence for it not being a logboat. The small size and lack of clearance-gauge holes, however, make such an identification improbable. The narrow and elongated shape is inappropriate for a log-coffin but suitable for a cooking-trough. In the absence of convincing parallels of similar form, the possibility that it was a logboat of unusual form cannot be entirely ruled out.

J Ritchie 1942; R U Sayce 1945; C Earwood 1993; R J C Mowat 1996, visited July 1987.

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