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Underwater Archaeology

The authentic crannog reconstruction which forms the focal part of the Scottish Crannog Centre was built by the Scottish Trust for Underwater Archaeology, or STUA, with the sponsorship and support of many volunteers and grants.

The Scottish Trust for Underwater Archaeology (STUA), registered charity number SC018414, was formed to promote the research, recording, and preservation of Scotland's underwater heritage. Towards realising these aims the Trust carries out surveys and excavations, provides training, expertise and advice, and tries to raise awareness of our underwater heritage through education, exhibition, and publication.

The STUA also liases with statutory and environmental organisations in an effort to ensure that underwater archaeology is considered in management and conservation strategies. All work is either funded through grants and donations or undertaken on a voluntary basis. The STUA was formerly based at Edinburgh University under the direction of Dr Nicholas Dixon, Research Fellow in Archaeology. It is now based at the Scottish Crannog Centre at Loch Tay, Perthshire.

STUA Web Link


Diving into the Iron Age

Diving archaeologists have been exploring the crannogs in Loch Tay since 1980. The Crannog Centre reconstruction is based on their excavation results from the 2,500 year old Oakbank Crannog located off the village of Fearnan.

The ancient structural timbers, plant remains, food, utensils, and even clothing have been remarkably well-preserved by the cold peaty water. Particularly spectacular are a butter dish with butter still sticking to the inside of it, and a handful of sloes with the fruit still intact. Pollen, seeds and even herbs have also been discovered.

Survey and underwater work will continue on the site to provide the Scottish Crannog Centre with new discoveries. See also our Current Research section for other STUA projects.

Training Opportunities

Our next training sessions in underwater archaeology will run in 2014.

For further details please
contact the crannog centre
Tel : 01887 830583
Email :

Log On to the Bronze Age

In a fluke discovery, our team of underwater archaeologists found the remains of a log-boat during the experimental building of the Crannog. The base of the boat and part of one side were revealed, damaged through erosion. The main part is more than 10 metres long and about 0.85 m wide. The marks from the tools used to hollow out the timber are still preserved in places, particularly at the stern where a deep slot had been cut for a separate transom or stern-board. The moss that had been used to caulk this stern-board to prevent leaking was sampled and identified as Sphagnum pallustre.

The log-boat itself was hollowed out from a single oak tree and it is one of the longest to be found in Scotland. It is therefore very appropriate that the vessel lies in the heart of Perthshire, known as Big Tree Country. We are grateful to the Big Tree Country initiative and Scotland's Forestry Commission for funding the radiocarbon dating of the log-boat which averages out at about 1500 BC. Currently we are involved in a project to produce a logboat using replica Bronze Age tools. More


Meanwhile, a steering oar and the blade of a paddle have been discovered at Oakbank Crannog, dating to some 1000 years later than the logboat mentioned above. As the excavation continues it is likely that at least one log-boat or canoe will be discovered there.


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