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Nov. 2013: We will feature in ITV's Britain's Secret Treasures to be broadcast on Thursday, 28th November at 8:30pm. The film crew visited in the summer with presenter Michael Buerke to film us paddling the recreation of a Bronze Age logboat on Loch Tay. The series includes several outstanding archaeological discoveries and experimental replication.

May 2013: The Ring of Breadalbane Explorer bus (ROBE) will run again this year from 29th June to 20th October. We have contributed to this initiative to improve public transport in our area and to provide better access to one of the most beautiful parts of Scotland.

April 2013: We are delighted to announce our first woodland management conference, took place on 19th-20th April. The subject was Regenerating Hazel Coppice in Scotland, and there were several case studies on current work, our own coppice project, and the future of this kind of woodland management.

March 12, 2013: Calling all accommodation providers in Perthshire: join us at the Breadalbane EXPO 2013 where a gathering of some 45 businesses will be offering special discounts and vouchers to you for your guests. Interested in attractive packages that will entice more visitors to stay with you? Organised by the Breadalbane Tourism Cooperative, who initiated the 'Ring of Breadalbane Explorer' bus. For info on the EXPO, please contact us for further details. See also www.breadalbane.org

February 2013: We will be running our 3rd annual WinterWeek+ Festival to coincide with some of the UK school midterm holidays. We open daily especially for this festival and then close until the 29th March when we will re-open for the main season through October.

December 2012: We have been accepted as members of the Association of Independent Museums (AIM). Our next step is to meet the eligibility requirements of Museums Galleries Scotland for applying for accreditation. Watch this space.

NEW PROJECT: The Scottish Crannog Centre has begun a new project towards developing hazel coppice managed woodlands in Perthshire. Our Iron Age ancestors used hazel extensively in the Crannog and probably in structures on the shore, as well as a source of food and fuel. The project is being part-financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community Rural Tayside LEADER 2017-2013 Programme. Running from March, 2011 through March, 2013, a small team will work with volunteers and set up a network across the region to harvest and manage selected sites in association with local landowners. A range of special workshops and events will be organised and a new information leaflet will be prepared and widely distributed. In addition to the inkind funding from our Centre, match funding is being provided by Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust. We are very grateful to all supporters and look forward to a productive programme.

From May: Experience Iron Age adventure! Dugout canoes will be available for hire by the hour by friends, families and small groups. Weather and safety cover permitting.

 

Sept 2012: FINLAND: The Directors visited the Kierikki Stone Age Museum north of Oulu in Finland as part of an EU Leonardo da Vinci learning programme facilitated by Grampus Heritage. Kierikki is an archaeological open air museum with an awardwinning museum and several reconstuctions of Stone Age houses. There are the remains of at least 40 archaeological sites within their grounds and excavations run each year. A fabulous place to visit and a wonderful resource for school children. We also visited the Turkansaari folk museum and were treated to an archaeological road trip looking at a range of prehistoric and post Medieval sites. Photos to follow.....

July 2012: CRANNOG Bus Stop! We are one of the destinations for a new hop-on, hop-off explorer bus through stunning countryside. From the 17th July to 16th September 2012, the 'Ring of Breadalbane' Explorer bus will run six times per day (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays) linking Aberfeldy, Killin, Comrie and Crieff. Each bus can also carry up to 4 bicycles. Tickets are for sale onboard, cash only. For card payments and bike bookings, please telephone 01877 384768. There are lots of special offers including our own 2:1 entry for full ticket holders. For details, please download the brochure and timetable.

June 2012: We are building new ovens so visitors can cook their own Iron Age picnics and we can have more food festivals....We have a new mini crop-plot and we are growing barley, flax, spelt and emmer heats....We have new border bedding plants featuring the weeds and plants cultivated by our ancient ancestors...and the dugout canoes are available for hire again, especially in this calm spell with flat water.

May 2012: Once again we host students and faculty from the University of Georgia (Athens) for a great week of archaeology, anthropology and socialising.

April 2012: The Directors have just visited several museums in Italy as part of a sharing best practice project in Archaeological Open Air Museums organised by EXARC (www.exarc.eu) Photos to follow....

March 2012: Following inspection in February by the Green Tourism Business Scheme, we are delighted to announce that we have been awarded GOLD again for best practice in environmental management. We have achieved and maintained GOLD for eight consecutive years since joining the scheme. Thanks to all involved who have made this outstanding achievement possible.

DEVELOPMENT STUDY: The Scottish Trust for Underwater Archaeology(SC01814) had a feasibility study undertaken to explore the options for establishing a new field centre on the north shore of Loch Tay, close to Kenmore and the Scottish Crannog Centre. The project was part-financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community Rural Tayside LEADER 2017-2013 Programme. Match funding was provided by Scottish Enterprise and the STUA.

5 STAR AWARD: We are delighted to announce that we have again achieved Visit Scotland's prestigious 5 Star Award in their recent grading inspection. Well deserved for a hardworking, well-informed and enthusiastic team. Congratulations to all!

STORM DAMAGE: Storms in December 2011 and Jan 2012 resulted in damage to the crannog walkway and roof. The repairs were carried out by Archeo-Serwis (archeo-serwis.eu) building specialists and our own team of underwater archaeologists.

INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION 3-7 October, 2011: We participated in the 'Bringing Archaeology to ife' conference at the Hunebedcentrum in Borger, NL. The focus was on the potential of social media, augmented and virtual reality techniques in heritage interpretation. It was also the platform on which several EXARC projects could converge. (see also www.exarc.net and www.hunebedcentrum.org)

Museum Accreditation Scheme: The Scottish Crannog Centre hosted a graduate student in 2011 to explore the feasibility of the Centre registering for the Museum Accreditation Scheme. While focusing on early Iron Age life through reconstruction and hands-on activities, we also have a very small collection of Iron Age objects on display recovered from crannog excavations in Loch Tay. We are associated with many museums and our Directors are members of ICOM (www.icom.museum), but the Scottish Crannog Centre is not (yet) a registered museum.

Study Tour : The Scottish Crannog Centre and Scottish Trust for Underwater Archaeology hosted a group of students with Prof. E. Garrison from the University of Georgia, USA from the 30th May to 4th June, 2011.

TV coverage: Neil Oliver's History of Ancient Britain BBC2. The Scottish Crannog Centre played host to a number of specialists, broadcast on the 14th April, 2011.

COURSEs in underwater archaeology were held in 2011 in conjunction with the Nautical Archaeology Society. See Current Research and Training.

FIRE & ICE FESTIVAL Dec. 2010: A wonderful event. Click here for images and also visit www.pvaf.org.uk

Feb - August 2009: CRANNOG RESTORATION & IMPROVEMENTS

The Scottish Trust for Underwater Archaeology and the Scottish Crannog Centre received grants to enable renovation and enhancement of the unique recreation of a 2,500 year old Crannog at the Centre near Kenmore. The work was led by Archeo-Serwis, a team of Polish builders associated with Biskupin Museum who are experienced in archaeological reconstructions. The funding was awarded by Leader and Trusts administered by Perth & Kinross Council.

 

JUNE, 2009: Learning Journeys to liveARCH Partners in Hungary & Netherlands

NETHERLANDS: Staff from the Scottish Crannog Centre visited the Historische OpenluchtMuseum Eindhoven from 25-28th June to observe how they present and interpret information to their visitors and to school children in particular; to gain a better understanding of Iron Age textile-making and clothing; and to discuss marketing and management issues as an Archaeological Open Air Museum. Located within the well-known public greenbelt of Genneper Parken, the museum has several reconstructions from the Iron Age and from the early Medieval period based on evidence of finds in Eindhoven and elsewhere in the Netherlands, and there is a Medieval Inn which serves as a restaurant for visitors and special groups. Guides and volunteers wear period clothing and the buildings contain replica artefacts as there is no indoor exhibition or museum collection. The museum has initiated several innovative and interactive educational programmes for youngsters and adults alike and holds several events each year. One of the high points this year is Eindhoven 777, a celebration of the founding of the city in 1232. See also www.HOMEindhoven.nl
HUNGARY: Directors of the Scottish Crannog Centre visited the Matrica Museum and Archaeology Park of Szazhalombatta near Budapest from 9-12th June to learn about their educational programmes and activities; how they interpret prehistoric environments; and how they relate to their visitors using archaeological evidence. The Archaeology Park features several reconstructions of Bronze Age and Iron Age buildings, with experimental gardens of the types of herbs, pulses, lesgumes, grain, and native plants and trees that grew there in prehistory. The focal point is a tumulus or burial chamber dating from the 8th century BC that combines insitu remains with reconstructions in an innovative exhibition for visitors. The surrounding area is rich in prehistoric archaeological remains including some 120 tumuli found within a zone of 50 hectares, and the second largest Iron Age rampart in Europe, overlooking the Danube. The Matrica Museum is located just a few kilometers away and will open its newly refurbished galleries later this summer with a fine collection of prehistoric ceramics, metalwork and bone artefacts, as well as an extensive ethnographic collection. See also www.matricamuzeum.hu

Both trips generated many ideas and provided information that will be used to develop new programmes at the Scottish Crannog Centre. We appreciated meeting and networking with like-minded colleagues and we are very grateful to the liveARCH project for making possible such valuable and enjoyable experiences.

MAY, 2009: Crannog Crew back from Living History Event

GERMANY: Five members of the Scottish Crannog Centre participated in an international conference and outdoor living history festival at Lake Constance from the 21st until 24th May 2009.  The event was organised within the European project liveARCH by the Pfahlbaumuseum at Unteruhldingen with participants from 11 countries.  The theme of the conference was “Archaeological Open Air Museums: Bringing the Past to Life without Compromising Authenticity”.  The historical festival “H8 – Eight countries present Living History” completed the conference with participants of the museums of the liveARCH project. Groups from Latvia, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, and Italy joined the Scottish Crannog Centre in presenting history from the Stone Age to Medieval times in a lively manner. More than 5000 visitors attended this time travel through 6000 years of European history. Each partner museum had an exhibition area and presented different themes. There were also displays of Roman gladiators, Alamanns, Celts and knights to entertain the visitors. On the Lake Constance a reed-ship reconstruction from Southern America and a reconstructed Viking ship gave an idea of how people managed to sail across the ocean thousands of years ago. More information on www.livearch.eu. Pictures of the event on www.pfahlbauten.de/impressionen/2009-h8-living-history.html.

March, 2009: Crannog Crew back from Bronze Age Italy - LiveARCH

Directors and staff from the Scottish Crannog Centre have just returned from a 5 day learning journey to Modena, Italy as one of the eight European museums  involved with the liveARCH project (www.livearch.eu).

The meeting included a two-day conference as the First Forum of European Archaeological Open Air Museums, launched a new dvd on living history and experimental archaeology, and a new Guide to Archaeological Open Air Museums in Europe, listing over 200 centres, parks, and site museums all containing archaeological reconstructions from prehistory to the early Medieval period. Limited numbers of the guide and the dvd will be available from the Scottish Crannog Centre later this year. Meanwhile, visitors to the Centre will be able to view the short video presentation at their base in Kenmore.

The visit also included an excursion to the Terramara Montale Archaeology Park and Open-air Museum south of Modena. Opening in 2004, the museum gained instant recognition and success, proving the appeal for living and experimental archaeology to a wide-ranging public interested in high-quality cultural tourism. The Park’s strong interactive bias enhances the emotional impact it has on its visitors, who are attracted by the experience of a genuine journey back in time.

The museum features two reconstructions of Bronze Age rectangular houses built on short stilts over what once would have been boggy ground. Demonstrations of bronze casting took place, while the delegates were able to inspect the houses  and visit the purpose built educational centre. The facilities for schools are impressive, with a reconstruction of the archaeological remains as first uncovered and with pits for children to learn about the association between artefacts and layers of earth.

The visit provided the Crannog crew with a great networking opportunity with the promise of many exchanges to other museums to come. The next liveARCH meeting will take place at the Pfahlbau Museum in Unteruhldingen in Germany in May which will feature a big living history event involving re-enactors from all the partner countries.

Oct. 2008: Crannog Crew Hosts Skills Exchange with liveARCH

The Scottish Crannog Centre hosted two colleagues from the Foteviken Viking Reserve in Sweden (www.foteviken.se) and 5 colleagues from the Eindhoven Historisch OpenLucht Museum (www.historisch-openluchtmuseum-eindhoven.nl) in the Netherlands in a series of skills workshops ranging from archery crafts and fire-making to visitor engagement and marketing. Skills concentrated on making longbows, glues, and fletching arrows, as well as learning more about firemaking and the preparation of natural tinders. All participants assisted the crannog team with their Primitive Pyrotechnia Event on 12/10/08 which also featured iron Age Bread baking, butter making, and bronze jewellery casting.

The visit exceeded all expectations of the particpants and forged new friendships which will long outlast the skills exchange programme of liveARCH, which ends in November, 2009.

September 2008: Crannog Crew Visits Latvia: www.liveARCH.eu

The Scottish Crannog Centre sent several of its team to Latvia in late September for another learning journey organised through the Culture 2000 project, liveARCH (www.livearch.eu) Several of the Crannog Crew visited the Araisi Lake Fortress (www.history-museum.lv/english), in the Araisi Archaeological Museum Park at the Latvian National History Museum. The Lake Fortress is located outside of Riga and features reconstuctions of a 9th century AD village situated on a picturesque islet in the Araiši lake. Their constructions are based on remains of a well preserved complex of timber buildings uncovered during archaeological excavation from 1965 – 1975, andthe results of  long term research work on lifestyle and building traditions of ancient inhabitants of Latvia in the Viking Age.

The open air archaeological museum also has a Medieval castle ruin and  reconstructed Stone Age and Bronze Age dwellings. The museum runs several events each year including  bees’ Festivals, Viking Days, and renactments.Excursions outside the museum included tours of Riga and Cessis, and the 76-acre Latvian Ethnographic Open Air Museum. The team from Scotland’s Iron Age crannog attended a conference focusing on practical issues of collaboration, networking and managment of crafts people and the methodologies being applied for archaeological reconstructions open to the public. The highpoint of the visit was a day filled with emonstrations by skilled craft workers and textile experts who gave sessions in spinning, weaving, and dying, metalworking, and pottery firing. In all there were 96 participants from 11 countries. We hope the training and networking will result in many more exchanges in the future!

Evidence of Ancient Beaver Activity Discovered in Loch Tay: August 2008

Underwater archaeologists working in Loch Tay, Perthshire have just discovered the remains of wood  gnawed by beavers up to 8,000 years ago during their investigations of an area of drowned woodland.

The remains of ancient oak, pine, and alder trees embedded in the shallows of the loch below Ben Lawers were first discovered in 2005 during work carried out by the Scottish Trust for Underwater Archaeology (STUA) for the National Trust for Scotland’s Ben Lawers Historic Landscape Project. Initial radiocarbon-dated samples placed the submerged tree remains in the Neolithic period more than 4,000 years ago, but further dating has revealed the timbers range between 1,500 and 8,000 years old.

With support from Historic Scotland, underwater archaeologists from the STUA and the Scottish Crannog Centre at Kenmore have returned to the area to try to determine the origins of the tree remains, possible causes for their inundation, and any evidence of human activity. Last year charred grain was found in a sample collected from deposits one metre below the lochbed. Given previous discoveries of Neolithic stone axes nearby on land and the proximity of Scotland’s only known stone axe factory near Killin, it is possible that further evidence will be preserved in the loch.

Now, in the course of searching for the root systems of one of the most upright stumps, the archaeologists have discovered upright and jumbled sticks buried up to one metre below the lochbed which have been gnawed and cut by beaver. Dr Nicholas Dixon, Chairman of the STUA and Research Fellow at Edinburgh niversity said “We were hoping to find timbers cut by early farmers using prehistoric tools; we never expected to find evidence of beaver activity. It will be exciting to date these finds – many of which have well-preserved teethmarks - and to try to establish if they represent the remains of a dam or lodge.”

Scientists believe that beavers were extinct in Scotland by the 16th century. In May this year the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland were granted a licence by the Scottish Government to reintroduce up to four families of European beaver (Castor fiber) on a time-limited trial basis to Mid-Argyll next spring. Simon Jones of the Scottish Wildlife Trust and Project Manager for the Scottish Beaver Trial said “This is a rare and exciting find. Despite historical records showing that beavers were commercially exploited in Scotland for their pelt and medicinal qualities, beaver remains and related artefacts can be difficult to find because of the conditions for preservation. This adds to the evidence that beavers were present in many arts of Scotland and were a key part of the Scottish landscape until they became extinct as a direct result of human actions.”

Evidence of beaver activity has been found in most parts of Scotland, but it is rare to find so much gnawed wood all in one place which is also a first for Loch Tay. While so far there is no evidence to link the finds with human activity in the area, the forthcoming radiocarbon dates may indicate co-existence with crannog-dwellers or earlier settlements.

9th-13th July, 2008: Visiting archaeologists from Poland

Colleagues from the archaeological open air museum of Biskupin near Bydgoszcz visited the Scottish Crannog Centre towards developing a new collaborative project. Biskupin (www.biskupin.pl) features timber reconstructions of an early Iron Age lake settlement first discovered in the 1930's. The team there has learned aluable skills in timber building and preservation techniques and we hope to involve them in the restoration and maintenance work of our crannog reconstruction.

LOGBOAT PROJECT - throughout 2008-9

The first trees have been felled for a new experimental archaeology project to recreate as closely as possible two Bronze Age logboats - one discovered in Loch Tay and one in the River Tay, Perthshire. Compliments of Dunkeld Hilton House Hotel estates, Arboretum International, Forestry Commission Scotland, and the Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust, the Crannog Crew has taken delivery of long sections of Douglas Fir and Larch that were rotten and needed to be removed in the interests of public safety. These trees will provide the 'blanks' to practice on before using replica Bronze Age tools to create an authentic Bronze Age logboat.

LiveARCH 2008: Skills Exchange Programme

The directors of the Scottish Crannog Centre travelled to Pfahlbaumuseum Unteruhldingen (www.pfahlbauten.de) in Germany at the end of March for a specialist workshop in bronze working. The aim was to learn how to produce replicas of middle Bronze Age tools found in Scotland, which will be used in the creation of logboats based on discoveries in Loch Tay and in the River Tay.

LiveARCH 2008: Conference 3-7 March

Four members of the Crannog Crew travelled to the Lofoten Islands and the Vikingmuseum at Borg, Norway (www.lofotr.no) for the 4th liveARCH congress. The theme of this learning journey was marketing for archaeological open air museums. In addition, the 8 liveARCH partners exchanged information and updated each other on their project work which will culminate in: a new European Directory of Open Air Archaeological Museums; guidelines for the registration of such museums including quality standards; guidelines for live interpretation; recommendations for skills training; and maximising the links between research and public dissemination of information.

The Crew at Svolvaer, and the Chieftain's longhouse at the Lofotr Museum.

EXARC 16th-18th March, 2007

EXARC is a European network of Open Air Museums and other facilities involved in Experimental Archaeology. It aims to establish a high standard of both scientific research and public presentation. The Scottish Crannog Centre was proud to host the 12th Annual EXARC meeting. Please see www.exarc.net for further details or email us at info@crannog.co.uk.

LiveARCH (Culture 2000) 13th-18th March, 2007

LiveARCH is a Culture 2000 project and one of EXARC's major programmes involving eight EXARC members including The Scottish Crannog Centre. Funded by the European Union, the project aims to exchange ideas, skills, and best practice between 8 centres featuring open air museums, living history and experimental archaeology parks. The other partners come from organisations in Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden representing prehistoric to post-Medieval times. The project will run from 2007 - 2009. See also www.livearch.eu

Back from the first training session in the Netherlands at Eindhoven, the Crannog Crew were delighted to welcome their new partners from 13th - 18th March, and to host a series of events that culminated in a symposium on Cultural Heritage Interpretation on Saturday, 17th March in Pitlochry, Perthshire.

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