The Museum Exhibition houses some of the original early Iron Age artefacts discovered at ‘Oakbank Crannog’.
Using interpretive panels, videos and original finds, the exhibition highlights and deciphers discoveries, research and underwater excavations carried out by the Scottish Trust for Underwater Archaeology (STUA, registered charity SC018418) to paint a detailed picture of the Iron Age crannog dwellers.
The reconstructed roundhouse at the Scottish Crannog Centre is based upon STUA's underwater excavations of 'Oakbank Crannog' in nearby Fearnan. Timbers discovered on the site have been radiocarbon dated approximately to between 600BC and 400BC.
Many of the artefacts recovered during the underwater exploration are on display in the museum exhibition including some of the well-crafted wooden domestic utensils and structural elements such as the timbers displayed in the wet-tanks; look carefully for signs of the impressive woodworking skills still visible on these ancient timbers. The exhibition also features a wooden foot plough and a canoe paddle. Other discoveries such as a jet bead and items of jewellery on display suggest trade outside the crannog-dwellers' immediate environment.
Interpretive boards detail sites of the many crannogs to be found around Scotland together with information about underwater excavations in Loch Tay and daily life of the loch-dwellers. Videos detail other crannog sites, an animated interpretation of the construction and ultimate ruination of 'Oakbank Crannog', a look at how the reconstructed crannog was built and more.
While diving on the site of Oakbank Crannog, underwater archaeologists discovered much about the original residents who appeared to be peaceful and successful farmers who grew wheat and barley and kept cattle, goats and sheep, all of which is highlighted in the exhibition. The discovery of a fragment of finely woven cloth made from hand-spun wool indicates a sophisticated level of weaving and is a particularly exciting find given the rarity of prehistoric clothing discoveries in Scotland.
A saddle quern was also discovered and is featured: made from local schist stone with garnets, the repeated grinding of the grain produced a saddle shape in the stone. Grinding grain is one of our popular featured activities in the outdoor crafts area.
The wide range of food remains together with items of jewellery and other discoveries suggest high status and that Oakbank's Early Iron Age residents enjoyed a level of comfort perhaps not shared by everyone in the vicinity.
As new discoveries are brought to light they will be preserved, studied and placed on display. However, as underwater archaeology in Scotland is not well-funded, the material raised is presently being kept to the minimum. A range of conserved artefacts already await display, while two recent discoveries await conservation pending grant aid.
You can help support this important research by making a (tax-free for UK tax-payers) donation. Please go to our Donate page for details of how to help.