Scottish Iron Age loch village

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Photo: Archaeologists at work at “Scotland’s Glastonbury”

Archaeologists have discovered an Iron Age loch village, the first of its kind in Scotland.

The site in Wigtownshire is being dubbed as “Scotland’s Glastonbury” after being likened to the Glastonbury Lake Village in Somerset, England.

The pilot excavation was carried out this summer by the AOC Archaeology Group and was part-financed with £15,000 from Historic Scotland.

Initially thought to be a crannog, a partially or entirely artificial island usually built in lakes, rivers and estuarine waters of Scotland, the site at the now infilled Loch of Myrton, appears to be a settlement of at least seven houses built in the wetlands around the loch.

Archaeologists have discovered a massive stone hearth complex at the centre of a roundhouse. The timber structure of the house has been preserved, with beams radiating out from the hearth forming the foundation, while the outer wall consists of a double-circuit of stakes.

 Excavations revealed that the roundhouse was not built on top of an artificial foundation, but directly over the fen peat which had gradually filled in the loch.

 This type of site is currently unique in Scotland and there are few other comparable sites elsewhere in the British Isles. Although similar lake villages, including Glastonbury and Meare, also in Somerset, have been previously discovered.

Experts hope that this discovery will help to improve knowledge and understanding of Iron Age Scotland.