Carved wood from Lochlea crannog

This piece of wood from the crannog at Lochlea has an Iron Age carving etched into it.  It is extremely rare for carvings such as this to have survived until the present day and this pattern is a primary source for those studying the artistic nature of our ancestors.   The Lochlee crannog, which was excavated in 1878, was originally situated in a small loch, being reached by a wooden gangway. A foundation of brushwood was laid, kept down by beams and stones and surmounted by clay, which was presumably clear of the surface of the water. This artificial island was stablished by driving in piles round the outer edges. In one area these piles formed two rows, one inside the other, round the outside of the crannog.   Connecting the piles of inner and outer rows were thick planks of oak, about 6ft long, each with a square hole at each end to fit over the top of a pile. This structure, if continued all round the outside of the crannog, would have formed a very compact foundation. In the centre were logs laid in layers, probably the floor of a round wooden house at least 40ft in diameter. A fireplace was made by bedding flat stones in clay, with a small kerb of stones placed on edge.   At least four such hearths were found, built one above the other, showing that the fireplace, and perhaps the whole house, had been reconstructed on the same site at least four times. This suggests an occupation lasting for some time, perhaps from the late first into the first quarter of the second century. A great many objects were found, including cup and ring-marked stones, bowls of solid timber, woodworking tools including a polished stone axe, shears, spindle whorls, a weaving comb, a snaffle-bit of Celtic type, a spiral finger ring, jet armlets; Roman material includes brooches, melon bead, 2nd century samian and fragments of coarse pottery. Most of the arifacts are held in the Dick Institute, Kilmarnock.   This crannog has obviously had a multi-period occupation. Among the finds was a 9th-century ringed pin, and also objects of 16th- or 17th-century date, such as a brass mounted knife and a number of iron implements of similar date.   Cressey and Finlayson, M and W L (1996) 'Lochlea, near Mauchline (Tarbolton parish), evaluation',  Discovery Excav Scot Page(s): 97-98
Object no :
EAAH032a, EAAH032b
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Lochlea Crannog, Ayrshire
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East Ayrshire Council
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