Crannogs were used as dwellings over five millennia, from the European Neolithic Period although in Scotland there is currently no convincing evidence in the archaeological record of Early and Middle Bronze Age or Norse Period use.
The earliest radiocarbon determinations obtained from key sites such as Oakbank in Loch Tay and Redcastle, Beauly Firth approach the Late Bronze Age to Early Iron Age transition at their widest interpretation; although more commonly they exist as brush, stone or timber mounds that can be revetted with timber piles.
Crannog reoccupation is important and significant, especially in the many instances of crannogs built near natural islets that were often completely unused.
This long chronology of use has been verified both by radiocarbon dating and more precisely by dendrochronology.
When timber was available, many were surrounded by a circle of wooden piles with axe-sharpened bases that were driven into the bottom, forming a circular enclosure that helped to retain the main mound and prevent erosion.
The piles could also be joined together by mortise and tenon, or large holes cut to carefully accept specially shaped timbers designed to interlock and provide structural rigidity.
This centre offers guided tours and hands-on activities, including wool-spinning, wood-turning and making fire, holds events to celebrate wild cooking and crafts, and hosts yearly Midsummer, Lughnasadh and Samhain festivals.
Crannogs took on many different forms and methods of construction based on what was available in the immediate landscape.
However, despite earlier concepts of a strict Early Historic evolution, The construction techniques for a crannog (prehistoric or otherwise) are as varied as the multitude of finished forms witnessed in the archaeological record.
Thus only extremely limited interpretations are possible.
Preservation and conservation techniques for waterlogged materials such as logboats or structural material were all but non-existent, and a number of extremely important finds perished as a result: in some instances dried out for firewood.
The classic image of a prehistoric crannog stems from both post-medieval illustrations The Milton Loch interpretation is of a small islet surrounded or defined at its edges by timber piles and a gangway, topped by a typical Iron Age roundhouse.
The choice of a small islet as a home may seem odd today, yet waterways were the main channels for both communication and travel until the 19th century in much of Ireland and especially Highland Scotland.
) is typically a partially or entirely artificial island, usually built in lakes, rivers and estuarine waters of Scotland, Wales, and Ireland.