A Lake Dwelling in Its Landscape: Iron Age settlement at Cults Loch, Castle Kennedy, Dumfries & Galloway [Hardback]

Graeme Cavers (Author); Anne Crone (Author)

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ISBN: 9781785703737 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2017 | Language: English 304p, H297 x W210 (mm) b/w and colour

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A Lake Dwelling in Its Landscape


Cults Loch, at Castle Kennedy in Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland, lies within a landscape rich in prehistoric cropmark sites and within the loch itself are two crannogs, one of which has been the focus of this study. A palisaded enclosure and a promontory fort on the shores of the loch have also been excavated. The Cults Loch crannog is only the second prehistoric site in Scotland to be dated by dendrochronology and analysis has revealed the very short duration of activity on the crannog in the middle of the 5th century BC. Bayesian analysis of the dating evidence from all the excavated sites has yielded a chronological sequence which suggests a dynamic and sequential settlement pattern across the landscape. The implications of this sequence for later prehistoric settlement throughout south-west Scotland are explored. The Cults Loch Landscape Project arose out of the Scottish Wetland Archaeology Programme (SWAP), the objective of which is to fully integrate the wetland archaeological resource of Scotland into the more mainstream narratives of ‘dryland’ archaeology. The Cults Loch project has sought to bridge this apparent divide between ‘wetland’ and ‘dryland’ by focusing on a wetland site, the crannog, which lies at the centre of a prehistoric landscape, rather than being peripheral to it. Thus, the wealth of well-preserved evidence from the crannog, particularly the rich ecofactual assemblages, as well as the higher chronological resolution possible through the dendro-dating of waterlogged timbers, are brought to bear on our understanding of the evidence from the cropmark sites around the loch. The role and function of crannogs are also explored via the relationship between the crannog in Cults Loch and its social and physical landscape.

Table of Contents

1 introduction
 The research framework
 The landscape setting; geology and hydrology
 A history of previous archaeological investigations at cults loch
 The community initiative
 Note on site labels
2 Cults Loch 3; the promontory crannog
2a The structural sequence
 Phase 1; construction of the crannog mound
 Phase 2; structure 1
 Phase 3; structure 2
 Phase 3; deposits and structures in the n quadrant
 Phase 4; structure 3
 Phase 5; the decay horizon
 Access onto the crannog
2b Chronology, by Anne Crone
 Radiocarbon dating
 Dendrochronological studies
 14C wiggle-match dating and the structural sequence at Cults Loch 3, by Piotr Jacobsson, Derek Hamilton & Gordon Cook
2c ecofact analyses
 Phase 1; the crannog mound
 Phase 2; structure 1
 Phase 3; structure 2
 Phase 3; deposits and structures in the n quadrant
 Phase 4; structure 3
 Phase 5; the decay horizon
 Deposits off the crannog mound
 The macroplant assemblage, by Jackaline Robertson
 Insect remains, by Enid Allison
 Micromorphology, by Lynne Roy
2d the artefact assemblage
 The wooden artefacts, by Anne Crone
 The shale, by Fraser Hunter
 The glass bead, by Fraser Hunter
 The coarse stone, by Dawn McClaren
 The chipped stone assemblage, by Rob Engl
 The burnt clay, by Dawn McClaren
 Synthesis of the material culture from Cults Loch 3, by Dawn McClaren
2e the structural timbers
2f summary of evidence for construction and occupation on Cults Loch 3
3 Cults Loch 4; the promontory fort
 Aerial photography
 Geophysical survey, by Tessa Poller
 Excavation results
 Environmental remains, by jackaline roberton
 The form and function of the enclosure
 Inland promontory forts
4 Cults Loch 5; the palisaded enclosure
 Geophysical survey, by Tessa Poller & Graeme Cavers
 Excavation results
 Material culture, by Dawn McClaren
 Environmental remains, by Jackaline Roberton
 Cults loch 5; discussion
5 Cults Loch 2 and Cults Loch 6
 Cults Loch 2; the knoll
 Cults Loch 6; the pits
6 Radiocarbon dating and Bayesian modelling of Cults Loch 3, 4 and 5
 Methodological approach, by Derek Hamilton & Tony Krus
 Cults Loch 3; the crannog
 Cults Loch 4; the promontory fort
 Cults Loch 5; the palisaded enclosure
7 The material world of Iron Age Wigtownshire
 Introduction, by Fraser Hunter, Dawn Mclaren & Gemma Cruickshanks
 Luce sands
 Material patterns
 Iron and iron-working
 Copper alloys and their manufacture
 Decoration and adornment
 Artefacts and society
 The Roman world
8 The environment in and around Cults Loch
8a The offsite palaeoenvironmental programme, by Thierry Fonville, Tony Brown & Ciara Clarke
8b The on-site evidence for the environment around Cults Loch
9 Discussion
 Cults Loch 3; chronology, form & functionality
 The sites in their local and national context; the later prehistoric settlement record of Wigtownshire
 Settlement development in the 1st millennium bc in southern scotland
 The earlier Iron Age settlement landscape in SW Scotland
 The Cults Loch landscape: settlement, duration and evolution 500–0 BC
 Evidence for domestic architecture at Cults Loch
10 Conclusions

Reviews & Quotes

"This is an impressive book; well organised, and marshalling a considerable body of diverse and detailed information. It is clearly written and very well illustrated… It is an invaluable contribution for anyone with interests in prehistoric lake settlements, methods and approaches in wetland archaeology, and the later prehistory of Scotland. "
Pippa Bradley
Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society (12/07/2018)

"This publication shows how far the study of crannogs has advanced from Munro’s time. Far from being on a specialist periphery, crannogs and their material culture lie at the core of cultural contextualisation, from human response to the landscape to evidence for everyday life. The project’s strong community participation and outreach, from local volunteers to schools and Stranraer Museum, show how the (hi)stories of crannogs continue, impacting positively on lives today."
Mark Redknapp
British Archaeology (06/06/2018)

"In the range and detail of the evidence presented, this volume is a significant addition to Iron Age wetland archaeology, as it is to the re-assessment of the form, function and use of such lakeside locales for living, however transitory and impermanent they may have been. In its detailed consideration of the chronological relationships between the promontory crannog and the nearby dryland enclosed sites, it both complements and contrasts with other recent contributions to south-west Scotland’s later prehistory seen in wider perspective."
Ian Ralston
Antiquity (12/12/2018)

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