Thursday, June 25, 2015

Visit to a Crannog

Do you know what a crannog is? Well, I couldn't remember,  but when I saw "The Scottish Crannog Centre" marked on the map, I knew it rang a bell and that I had heard of a crannog before. We did a quick search on Wikipedia, and suddenly I knew where I'd heard of one before.  It was on an episode of Time Team called The Crannog in the Lake.

A crannog is an ancient (bronze age?) fortified dwelling built over a loch, and archaeological remains of them can be found in Scotland and Ireland.

The Crannog over the lake

At this site they had built a reconstruction of a crannog over Loch Tay - an exercise in experimental archaeology that is now open to the public. We were taken into it by a costumed guide who told us all about it. 

Our guide

Bridge to the crannog


The hearth

Guide talking about the lifestyle

The seating was actually quite comfortable

More seating

Walkway around the outside

Afterwards we were taken back to the shore to see some demonstrations of how wood may have been turned. We saw two different methods, one using a bow and another which could have been operated by a single man using a foot pedal to turn the lathe. We also saw how holes could be made in the local stone - useful for loom weights or door pivots.

Lathe method 1

Lathe method 2

Andy having a go at method 2

The final demonstration was starting fire using a rotating stick placed in another piece od wood to create an ember, and then using that ember to set wood shavings and sawdust alight.

It was a truly fascinating stop. I think these sort or experimental archaeology sites are great, because they allow us to really visualise, and even feel, what it would have been like inside an iron/bronze age residence,  and to see just how easily (or otherwise) things like wood turning could have been achieved.  For the record, it looked like it would have been very cosy living there.

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