Theme 3: Inland Waters

For the purposes of this framework, ‘Inland Waters’ include freshwater environments such as lochs, major rivers, and canals and navigations.

Aerial photograph of the Neptune’s Staircase on the Caledonian Canal. Banavie near Fort William ©RCAHMS DP023911

By their very nature, inland waters are an integral part, and an extension of the maritime networks around our coasts and estuaries. In many cases aspects of the cultural fabric of Scotland’s maritime identity emanate from contact between communities located along our coasts and those situated along these inland ‘arteries’. The very nature of the resource, physically and culturally, displays very real synergy with the ‘maritime’ sphere; and in the case of lochs and rivers, the very medium that is under exploitation. The main recommendations of this theme are:

  • To focus study on crannog contexts within their wider landscape particularly of the earliest (Neolithic or earlier) and latest (Medieval and post-Medieval) sites.
  • To survey under-studied areas in Scotland such as the north Highlands, as well as the remaining parts of the better known areas. This should include underwater survey using remote sensing in order to obtain coverage of large areas and identify the full range of submerged structures to be found in Scotland’s lochs.
  • To develop ‘topical’ research in areas such as boatbuilding and shipbuilding.
  • To foster partnership projects encompassing rivers and navigations and the mapping of the development of riverine, lacustrine and canal contexts, particularly in connection with arteries to more extensive settlements connected with the sea. This will allow understanding of how people exploited inland waterways and interacted with the coast in a ‘Source to Sea’ style approach.

Leave a Reply