crannoggs There are remains of Scottish civilization from the Neolithic Age. The reason for the formation of these artificial islands remains a mystery even today.
Chris Murray made an incredible discovery 10 years ago. Diving off a small end of his home island of Lewis in the Scottish Hebrides, a Royal Navy retiree spotted a pottery object near a strange isle. Carbon dating traces the object to 3600 BC. Scientists then learned about the civilization of the Scottish Isles before Stonehenge and the first Egyptian pyramids. The strange island is actually a remarkable form of a man-made island called Cranog. There are about 600 across Scotland.
These man-made islands can be large enough to accommodate small homes or even a community. A wooden pontoon or stone walkway connects them to the shore.
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Remnants of a very simple civilization
The word cranoag comes from Gaelic and means “son of a tree” or “young shoot”. The foundations of these man-made islands consist of tall wooden poles that are submerged in a bed of lochs. Stones and other natural materials were used to strengthen the structure. The construction of these platforms probably required impressive logistics. Heavy tree trunks and large boulders had to be brought to the shore. A fleet of boats was also undoubtedly needed to transport these materials away from shore.
« These crannogs represent a colossal effort thousands of years ago to form small islands by stacking tons of rocks on the lake bed. », is explained Professor Fraser Sturt. This archaeologist from the University of Southampton has been studying Scottish man-made islands for many years. For this he works closely with Professor Duncan Garrow of the University of Reading.
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Why were Cranogs created?
To get an idea of the difficulty of achieving such a construction, two archaeologists reconstructed one of the many cranes discovered on Loch Tai in Perthshire in the 90s. The project benefited from modern techniques of cutting and gathering wood. However, this did not stop the project from running for more than three years. Particularly problematic was the installation of wooden pillars seven to nine meters long for the foundation.
“We know that Cranogh lived in houses, people lived on these islands. But the reason for this occupation is still unclear”Underwater archaeologist Barry Adrian said. The researcher speculates that the man-made islands may have been habitats for local leaders or advanced trading posts on the waterway. The spiritual dimension should also be taken into account. Living above water may have had a special meaning for the civilization of the time. In this regard, research on crayons is ongoing to determine the reason for their formation.
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