The Scottish Crannog Centre is a unique living history museum near the village of Kenmore at the eastern end of Loch Tay in Perthshire. The accepted description of Crannog’s vary, but they are accepted as ancient roundhouses that stand on either small man-made islands or on wooden stills in water. They were prevalent throughout Scotland and Ireland (and one example in Wales) between around 3000BC and 1600AD.
For reasons not known there was a particular concentration of Crannogs on Loch Tay, with 20 or more dotted around the 28 mile shoreline.
Crannogs accommodated extended families and their animals, something of a precursor to the crofts that covered Scotland into the medieval period. But they often provided safe refuge to kings and religious groups who may have been ousted or marginalised from contemporary culture of the time.
In some examples rocks were piled onto the loch bed to create a small man-made island on which a stone house was built. You can still see evidence of those today in Lochs around Scotland, but they are easily be mistaken for tree-covered islands or are now underwater. Several hundred have been discovered in Scotland although only a few are recognisable.
The Scottish Crannog Centre at Kenmore is a reconstruction of a typical iron age Crannog from around 500BC, built in the 1990’s by The Scottish Trust for Underwater Archaeology. It is a reconstruction of a crannog that stood nearby and sits atop 168 timber piles with a thatched roundhouse and a timber causeway that connects it to the shore.
The charity’s aim is to promote the research, preservation and interpretation of Scotland’s underwater heritage.
At the Crannog centre you can walk in the footsteps of ancient Pictish dwellers and immerse yourself in village life. Explore the artefacts, see demonstrations on cooking and ancient crafts and take in the atmosphere inside the Crannog Roundhouse itself.
There is a concerted effort to build a larger museum and more Crannogs on the banks of Loch Tay and the charity is fundraising to make this a reality in the future.