The Scottish Crannog Centre

(Crannog Centre)

Scottish Crannog Centre, Croft-na-Caber
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Scottish Crannog Centre, Croft-na-Caber

The Scottish Crannog Centre is located at Croft-na-Caber, on the south shore of Loch Tay, a half-mile (1 km) southwest of Kenmore. This commercial visitor attraction represents a full-sized reconstruction of a prehistoric loch dwelling, of a form found extensively across Scotland and Ireland. Crannogs were generally timber roundhouses built on piles driven into a loch-bed. They were connected to the shore by a narrow walkway, to provide defensive homesteads protected from marauding enemies and wild animals. These structures were used from as early as 5000 years ago and some are thought to have still been in occasional use until the 17th C.

The Scottish Crannog Centre opened in 1997 and is run by the Scottish Trust for Underwater Archaeology, a charity which promotes research and training.

The reconstruction is based upon the archaeological investigation of the 2600 year old Oakbank Crannog, discovered in Loch Tay near the village of Fearnan in 1979 by archaeologists from the University of Edinburgh. This was one of at least 18 crannogs to be discovered in Loch Tay alone, which today appear as submerged stony mounds or small tree-covered islands.

Exhibits explain how Scotland's Iron Age loch-dwellers lived and worked. Some of the original timbers from the Oakbank Crannog are displayed along with artefacts and objects used by the people. Displays and demonstrations illustrate ancient craft skills.

Guides show visitors around the reconstructed crannog, which has given archaeologists the opportunity to rediscover the construction methods used in the past. The building has a conical roof, thatched with reeds from the Firth of Tay and its walls are made from Alder wattle fencing. Inside, the building was divided by further wattle fences, providing sleeping areas, a communal area for cooking and space for animals. The floor comprises lashed logs and would most likely have been covered in bracken. A central clay hearth was used for cooking and to provide heat.

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