Following the 2018 diving field season, Living on Water project team members Derek Hamilton and Michael Stratigos undertook terrestrial survey and excavation to try to find evidence for settlement on land that might be contemporary with those who lived on the Loch Tay crannogs. This work was supported by the Royal Archaeological Institute and was carried out with volunteers from the Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust, students from the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen and staff from the Scottish Crannog Centre.

Volunteers set up geophysics grids.

Our approach was to use magnetometry to prospect for archaeology that might be of the same date as the crannogs. We targeted areas in close proximity to crannogs we’ve been analysing as part of the Living on Water project at Fearnan (Fearnan Hotel and Oakbank) and at Dall Farm (Dall Bay North and South and Craggan). These were areas of relatively good agricultural land that may have been attractive

The results were somewhat disappointing – there does not seem to be much archaeology at all in the areas we surveyed. There was a potential feature identified at Dall Farm that might be prehistoric (indicated in red on the plot below). But it is far from conclusive. In the trenches we opened to test some of the geophysical anomalies we did find lots of post-medieval pottery, glass and coal/coke fragments. It seems like these fields were extensively middened in the past.

Geophysical Results from Dall Farm

While these results meant that we did not have lots of fantastic Iron Age archaeology to dig, it is still an interesting result. This seems to suggest that the crannogs sat relatively isolated in the Iron Age landscape. However, we can’t be entirely sure that any settlement or structures in these areas immediately onshore from the crannogs have been completely lost through later activity. There are a few recorded Iron Age settlements around Loch Tay, and we took the opportunity while we were doing this survey work to have a look at one of these at Easter Croftintygan which will be discussed in a future blog post.

We’d like to thank Boreland Loch Tay and the Taylor family for kindly allowing us access to conduct this work.