MHG4258 - Eilean Loch Arkaig

Summary

A crannog, constructed by artificially enlarging a natural islet, which has been reused in later periods as the site of a chapel and burial ground. Large masses of vitrified stonework are visible across the site.

Type and Period (2)

  • CRANNOG (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • VITRIFIED STONE (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)

Protected Status

Full Description

Renumbered from NN18NE0001A
See also:
NN18NE0001 Chapel
Jhooper, 13/9/2002
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NN18NE 7 1599 8885.

Island Columbkill has evidently been adapted for habitation. The west end is solid rock, but the south side appears to have been artificially enlarged, with a well preserved zigzag causeway to the shore. There are large masses of vitrified material on the island, one piece being in situ, and two circular vitrifed constructions may have been smelting furnaces. (See also NN18NE 1- Chapel and Burial Ground)
O Blundell 1913. <1>

The greater part of the island is artificial, composed of rubble stones and, where there is no vegetation, masses of vitrified material can be seen around the whole perimeter suggesting, in the absence of any evidence of a wall, a partially vitrified crannog rather than a fort. The "two circular vitrified constructions" mentioned by Blundell could not be traced.
Visited by OS 11 May 1970.

A survey of the island was undertaken in 2007 by the Sunart Oakwoods Research Group. The island is described as being rectangular, measuring 42m by 32m at the time of the visit. Bedrock is exposed in the northeast corner, and the vegetated part of the island, which measures 29m by 19m, consists of glacial till. The west and south sides have been supplemented with stones of 0.1 to 0.3m diameter, extending into deeper water for several metres. There is a 7m length of vitrified wall 0.8m high in the SE corner and another 4m length in the centre of the north side. Several large masses of vitrified material occur on the SW side, and smaller pieces are scattered throughout the crannog material on the west and south sides. One of the possible smelting furnaces identified by Blundell was identified as just a void. There was no sign of the "well-preserved causeway going zigzig to the shore", recorded by Blundell in 1913, however the eroded remains of a probable jetty are visible in the water off the SW side. <2> <3> <4> <5>


Kirby, J E, 07/2007, Correspondence between Jim Kirby and Kirsty Cameron (HCAU): Forts and Islands (Text/Correspondence). SHG24234.


Nisbet, H C, 1975, 'A geological approach to vitrified forts, part II: bedrock and building stone', Science and Archaeology, Vol 15, pp 3-16, p 14, no. 70 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG43.


<1> Blundell, F O, 1913, 'Further notes on the artificial islands in the Highland area', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 47 1912-13, p.257-302, 270-1 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG829.


<2> Kirby, J E, 2007, Eilean Loch arceig, Lochaber: An Archaeological Survey and Assessment (Text/Report/Fieldwork Report). SHG25795.


<3> Kirby, J, 2007, Photographs taken during field survey of Eilean Loch Airceig (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG23928.


<4> Kirby, J E, 07/2007, Correspondence between Jim Kirby and Kirsty Cameron (HCAU): Forts and Islands (Text/Correspondence). SHG24234.


<5> Kirby J E, Gasgoigne M, Dye J E & Madden P J, 2007, Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 2007: Chapel, Burial Ground, Vitrified Fort and Crannog (Text/Manuscript). SHG23437.

Sources/Archives (7)

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred NN 1598 8884 (36m by 43m)
Map sheet NN18NE
Civil Parish KILMALLIE
Geographical Area LOCHABER

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (3)

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