MHG287 - Wooden bowls - Ardgour


Approximate findspot of two complete wooden bowls and two bowl fragments, collectively dating to the late Iron Age. The vessels were found before 1871 during peat cutting.

Type and Period (1)

  • FINDSPOT (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD) + Sci.Date

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description


'Oval Wooden Vessel, of a single piece, 6 inches long, 2.5 inches wide, and the same in depth, having the remains of a looped handle at one end, found with the fragments of several others, smaller and larger, up to 10 inches in length, by 6 inches wide, and 5 inches deep, in a moss near Ardgour House, Inverness-shire. The wooden vessel had been mended with two bronze clasps secured by small rivets'. (Ardgour House is at NM 9954 6383).
PSAS donations.

ME 65-68. (rude wooden vessels) 'oblong cup, 6 in. long, with looped hand handles and fragments of similar cup, found in moss at Ardgour...' NMAS 1892 Catalogue.

Wooden bowls found during peat cutting are held in the National Museum of Scotland under the following accession numbers:
ME 65 Turned bowl with loop-handle set vertically and repaired rim,
ME 66 Carved bowl with two loop handles,
ME 67 Fragment of carved bowl with flat handle set horizontally,
ME 68 (as ME 67).
The following radiocarbon determinations have been obtained:
ME 65 155 +/- 70 ad (OxA-2415)
ME 66 60 +/- 70 ad (OxA-2416)
C Earwood 1993.

Held in store at the Royal Museum of Scotland (under accession numbers NMS ME 65-8) there are probable remains of a group (possibly a hoard) of wooden objects which were found (apparently during peat-cutting) before 1871 in a 'moss' near Ardgour House. It is unclear from what type of timber they have been worked, but alder or birch appear the most probable.
1. NMS ME 65 is a turned bowl with a vertically-set loop handle, which is now broken. As tentatively reconstructed by Henshall, it has measured 6" (152mm) in diameter by 2?" (64mm) in depth. The original account of the discovery notes that it had been 'mended with two bronze clasps secured by small rivets' but only one clasp can now be identified. This is neatly-made, evidently of bronze and secured by a single rivet over the rim on the opposite side from the handle; its identification as a repair feature is confirmed.
The vessel is closely-paralleled by one from Armagh, Ireland and has been radiocarbon-dated to 155 +/- 70 ad (OxA-2415); this determination may be calibrated to about 195 or 230 cal AD.
2. NMS ME 66 is a carved bowl of elliptical form with two opposed loop handles, one of which is apparently broken. It measures 10.1" (257mm) 'long' by about 7.5" (191mm) 'broad' and 4.5" (114mm) 'deep', has been 'crudely cut from the solid', and has been radiocarbon-dated to 60 +/- 70 ad (OxA-2416), which determination may be calibrated to between about 81 and 102 cal AD.
3 and 4. NMS ME 67 and 68 are fragments of carved bowls with carved handles set horizontally. Only the handle and part of the rim survive in each case, while ME 68 is fragmentary.
This group is immediately significant as indicating the contemporary use of turned and carved vessels. The turned example are seen by Earwood as exemplifying a relatively common group with parallels at Dalvaird Moss (NX47SW 10), Loch Laggan (NN58NW 6) and widely in Ireland (her 'County Armagh' type). On the basis of the few available dates, this has been a long-lasting type, in use between at least the third century BC and the second century AD in Ireland and between the first and sixth centuries AD in Scotland. These wooden bowls appear to have had a similar distribution to their bronze counterparts, the lack of any recorded examples from Northern England being possibly a reflection of the lack of archaeological recording in that area. She sees the carved vessel of elongated form (ME 66) as indicating a date for the type in the first few centuries AD, and notes parallels in Ireland and at Talisker Moor (NG33SW 6).
PSAS 1873; NMAS 1892; S Maxwell 1953; C Earwood 1990; R E M Hedges, R A Housley, C R Bronk and G J van Klinken 1991; C Earwood 1993a; B A Crone 1993; R J C Mowat 1996, visited November 1994.

Sources/Archives (8)



Grid reference Centred NM 9500 5999 (4m by 4m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet NM95NE
Civil Parish ARDGOUR
Geographical Area LOCHABER

Finds (3)

  • BOWL (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD) + Sci.Date
  • BOWL (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • BOWL (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD) + Sci.Date

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (1)

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