After the visit of the stone circle, we went back to our guesthouse and had a decent night of sleep. The next day, the old lady told us that the Scottish Crannog Centre was a place not to be missed. We haven’t planned to go there (to be honest, I’ve never heard about a crannog before !), but we decided to change our plan and drive up there, following her advice. And I’m glad we did it ! It was wonderful !
For the ones who don’t know what a Crannog is, well… let’s say that Crannogs are manmade or modified natural islands found throughout the Lochs of Scotland (and Ireland). These days, most of them remain hidden under trees or as under water mounts. They were first built for defensive reasons and were used from -5000 years ago to the 17th century. But it is also thought that they were used seasonally to build material or as source of food. The nature of their construction is different regarding the environment and the period they were built. There are hundreds of Crannogs in Scotland, but few of them have been studied. Below you can have an idea of their location. This map was featured in their little exhibition !
The Scottish Crannog Centre is located on Loch Tay, alongside 18 other crannogs. The Scottish trust for Underwater Archaeology has carried out investigation to be able to excavate them and the first crannog to be excavated underwater was the Oakbank Crannog located near Fearnan. The excavation has produced well preserved structures and artifacts, and has also highlighted the fact that these people were probably highly skilled woodworkers ! The skills required to make the tools and build the structures require a high level of sophisticated technology. Scientists think that the crannogs were probably own by very rich people.
The crannog we visited is not the real crannog, as you may have understood.. since most of them are still buried underwater. The reconstitution is based on this early Iron age Oakbank Crannog excavated in Fearnan and what they have learnt from it.
To build it, they used different types of wood : alder, oak, and elm for the roundhouse and the walkway, hazel rods for the wall panels and supports of the roof. To cover the floor, they cut bracken ! It provided insulation and comforting bedding.
Visiting this crannog was so interesting, the guide was amazing and we’ve learnt so much ! Outside of the structure there were several tents with special devices they were using at that time. We could try them and he also showed us how to make fire !
Guess who tried to make fire ? No.. not me … I was busy filming and taking pictures :p
But now, we are ready to live in the wilderness ! :p
I think this post was a great entry for the wordpress photo challenge : Beneath Your Feet , as most of these treasures are still buried deep down :-)