7.4.8 Crannogs and island dwellings

51 crannogs have been identified in the Argyll area, although few have been subject to excavation, the notable exception being the crannog at Loch Glashan (NMRS No. NR99SW 1) where radiocarbon dates and recovered artefacts indicate that the site was occupied between the 5th century AD, at the end of our period, to the 9th century AD (Crone and Campbell 2006). However, it has been postulated that the majority of crannogs were likely constructed between the 9th century BC – 2nd century AD (Crone 1993, Henderson 2007). Radiocarbon dates suggestive of Iron Age occupation or construction have been obtained from two other crannog sites in Argyll; a 4th – 2nd century BC date was obtained from a wooden pile at Loch Ederline (NMRS No. NM80SE 18), while a similar 4th – 1st century BC date was obtained from Eilean Ban (NMRS No. NM44NE 1) in Loch Frisa (NMRS No on Mull (Cavers and Henderson 2005; Holley 1994c). At Lochan Dughaill (NMRS No. NR75NE 5) crannog, recovery of a cannel-coal bracelet, a perforated stone disc, and a small clay crucible from the brief excavation undertaken in 1890 likely indicate that this was occupied in the Iron Age period although the site was reused in the medieval period (Munro 1893). A rotary quern was recovered from a crannog at Loch Quien (NMRS No. NS05NE 12) although this only suggests occupation of that site after the 3rd century BC (Cavers 2003). A small excavation at a crannog in Loch A’ Bhaillidh (NMRS No. NR76SE 5), South Knapdale, uncovered charcoal and ash deposits along with some bone but produced no other artefactual evidence (Munro 1893). The concentration of over 20 crannogs along Loch Awe, with its relative paucity of nearby land based duns undoubtedly warrants further study as does whether other small natural islands were utilised for habitation at this time. A relatively unexplored but perhaps important area is that of marine crannogs such as An Dòirlinn, Eriska (NMRS No. NM94SW 7) which was partially excavated in 1884, although apart from some animal bones no other diagnostic material was recovered (Munro 1885).