MHG4296 - Crannog - Eilean Tigh Na Slige


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

  • CRANNOG (16th Century to 17th Century - 1501 AD to 1700 AD) + Sci.Date

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Eilean Tigh na Slige or Eilean Ruighe na Slige (various traditional names are quoted) is an artificial island or crannog in Eaderloch or Ider Loch, an extension of Loch Trieg. In 1933, during operations connected with the Lochaber Water Power Scheme, the loch was temporarily drained, exposing the island and allowing a complete excavation to be made. A great oval of rounded stones and boulders was revealed resting upon layers of sandy silt which covered a great mound of vegetable debris naturally deposited in the bottom of the lake. Very little timber was visible externally but this was not unusual and the excavation revealed a construction of typical Scoto-Irish type in which stout timbers, dressed or undressed, form the skeleton and are held in place partly by upright posts but mainly by masses of stone and earth with intervening layers of brushwood and branches. A date probably within, or perhaps, a little after, the R.B. period is indicated. Very little evidence regarding the dwelling was found, so complete has been the destruction of the superstructure, but such evidence as there was pointed to the probability of a single, wooden, oblong dwelling, with a centrally supported tent-like roof. Three superimposed hearths were found on the site as well as a group of three on the surface at the N. end of the island. No trace of gangway to the island was found and access must therefore have been by boat alone. Finds which were few, included fragments of a sword of probable 16th or 17th century date, portions of leather shoes, a fragment of wool fabric, bronze tweezers, 16th - 17th century earthenware, hand-forged nails and a fragment of a knife, also a silver coin of Mary Queen of Scots (c. 1542-58), and an 18th century brooch. These contemporary references of c.1600 and later references to its alleged use by the outlawed Ronald Og, chief of Keppoch, in its traditional names of Council or Treaty Island point to a permanent occupation ceasing in the latter half of the 16th century and a regular occupation ceasing in the early 17th century. <1>

In the West Highland Museum [Fort William] are several logs recovered from a crannog in Loch Treig, and the keel of a boat formed of a single piece of wood found in the loch c. 1937.
Visited by OS (N K B), 11 May 1970.

A topographic survey of the now-submerged crannog was carried out by AOC Archaeology in 2007. The work was undertaken at the same time as the sampling of structural timbers from the site during a period of low water. Dendrochronological analysis of the oak and pine timbers was inconclusive, but the radiocarbon dates for its construction and use was found to correlate with its use in the C16 as recorded in documentary sources, with AD 1480 -AD 1650 dates, calibrated to two sigma, returned. <2>

For probable logboat and bog-butter trough found near the crannog, see NN37NW 2 and 3 respectively.

(NN 3473 7683) Eilean Tigh na Slige (NAT)
OS 6" map (1904)

This crannog was one of twenty sites to have been part of the SCOT2K Native Pine Dendrochronology Project. One of the aims of this project included dating and provenancing of native Scottish pine timbers in buildings and archaeological sites and dates were found to range from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries, from high-status castles to modest cruck cottages. They were mostly located in the Highlands where Scots pine occurs naturally and so these areas were more likely to have had native pine used in buildings, although an early example of long-distance transport is also identified. More widely in Scotland, many historic buildings are dominated by imported timber from the 15th century onwards, and native timbers may be under recognised, something the project is helping to address. Surviving native pine was dendrochronologically dated to the 16th century, with a terminus post quem date of AD 1550. <3> Summary of results <4>

Objects listed in the NMS catalogue comprise a club-like implement of oak (HT 143), a sample of vegetable debris (HT 150), 3 iron nails (HT 162-4), an iron fragment (HT 165), a think bronze sheet (HT 166), bronze tweezer like object (HT 167), two leather shoes (HT 168-9) and a bronze penannular brooch (HT 172). <5>

The NMS catalogue lists a penannular brooch, however, the illustration of the brooch in <1> shows an annular brooch. Its form needs clarifying with the NMS. GW 10/03/10

Timbers from the crannog are on display at West Highland Museum along with the wooden trough and log boat. <6>

Sources/Archives (7)



Grid reference Centred NN 3471 7684 (40m by 40m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NN37NW
Geographical Area LOCHABER

Finds (12)

  • SHOE (16th Century to 17th Century - 1501 AD to 1700 AD)
  • SWORD (16th Century to 17th Century - 1501 AD to 1700 AD)
  • TEXTILE (16th Century to 17th Century - 1501 AD to 1700 AD)
  • TWEEZERS (16th Century to 17th Century - 1501 AD to 1700 AD)
  • SHERD (16th Century to 17th Century - 1501 AD to 1700 AD)
  • NAIL (16th Century to 17th Century - 1501 AD to 1700 AD)
  • KNIFE (16th Century to 17th Century - 1501 AD to 1700 AD)
  • COIN (16th Century to 17th Century - 1501 AD to 1700 AD)
  • BROOCH (16th Century to 17th Century - 1501 AD to 1700 AD)
  • ORGANIC MATERIAL (16th Century to 17th Century - 1501 AD to 1700 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (16th Century to 17th Century - 1501 AD to 1700 AD)
  • STRUCTURAL TIMBER (Post Medieval - 1560 AD to 1900 AD)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (2)

External Links (2)

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