There are only a few recorded archaeological sites around Loch Tay which might date to the Early Iron Age. Of these, two have were excavated by the Ben Lawers Historic Landscape Project at Tombreck and Croftvellick both on the north shore of Loch Tay. The radiocarbon dates from these two sites suggest activity taking place after 400 BC at both, with more significant activity at Tombreck taking place from 200-50 BC. However, it is not possible to suggest that this represents all of the few other recorded later prehistoric settlement sites along the loch.
In addition to the prospective geophysical survey undertaken in September 2018, we also wanted to establish at least one further data point of terrestrial Iron Age settlement along Loch Tay. We selected the Easter Croftintygan ring-ditched house to survey and open a trial trench to assess it for the survival of good dating material.
Our two small trenches revealed that the site contains good contexts for radiocarbon dating. This includes a potential hearth feature, a possible post hole and ditch fill that was left unexcavated, but clearly had significant quantities of charcoal and generally decent preservation.
The hearth feature was sampled and we will be taking forward radiocarbon dating on material from it to give us a rangefinder for the use of this ring-ditched house. Further excavation might follow in 2019 to give us a fuller chronology and a better idea about what this house may have looked like in the Iron Age.
Thanks go to our volunteer excavators who braved some sideways rain on to do this work. Thank you to Robert and David Waugh of Easter Croftintygan Farm who provided access and permission for us to dig the site. Thanks also to SNH for arranging this work in a SSSI. Finally, thanks go to the Royal Archaeological Institute for funding the project.