Dumbuck Crannog :: Shared Description

This is the best-preserved of several crannogs located within the inner Clyde estuary. The crannog is set on mudflats, rather than a sandy beach, and it is often submerged, being completely uncovered for only a few hours at low tide, when it appears a dark circular seaweed-covered shape on the shore. See LinkExternal link (at Canmore) for archaeological details of Dumbuck Crannog.

Crannogs are "partly or wholly man-made islands which supported timber buildings". For a concise account of this site, see "Archaeology around Glasgow", Susan Hothersall, Glasgow Archaeological Society, 2007. Recent research has dated the remains to between 200BC and 200AD, and suggests that it was a water-side platform rather than a dwelling [A.G.C. Hale, "Scottish Marine Crannogs", 2004, Oxford].

There may have been a timber building standing out on the platform. There was also a dug-out canoe moored nearby (described by the original excavators as "the great war canoe"), and an oak ladder, four metres in length, for getting to the canoe (at the time of writing, the ladder could be seen on display in Kelvingrove Museum, forming part of the "Scotland's First People" exhibition; the author of the present shared description has viewed it there: the wood is very blackened from age, but the structure of the ladder is intact).

The platform here was about 50 feet wide, and it is still possible to see the remains of more than twenty oak piles arranged in a circle; they are visible as a ring of wooden stumps protruding above the mud. Within that circle, some of the horizontal timbers of the platform can also be seen. Outside the circle of piles was a stone and timber breakwater.

The site was excavated in 1898 by the Helensburgh Naturalist and Antiquarian Society; this is the same association who excavated nearby Dumbuie Dun Link in 1895. Just as with that earlier dig, the crannog site was liberally "salted" with fascinating objects that caused great controversy at the time, and which are now known to be fakes. For more on that topic, see the book "Controversy on the Clyde Archaeologists, Fakes and Forgers: The Excavation of Dumbuck Crannog", by Hale and Sands, RCAHMS; the book gives a detailed description of the site, describes how the crannog would have looked when in use, and includes an extensive list of references for further reading.

Dumbuck Crannog has been excavated more recently: in the 1990s and in 2000.

At the time of the first excavation in 1898, a burn, the Witches Plantain Burn, flowed in a straight line past the west side of the crannog; its old course can still clearly be seen there, marked by long straight line of seaweed-covered stones. The burn now follows a more sinuous course past the other side of the crannog.

As noted above, there are several other crannogs in the inner estuary of the River Clyde:

● Erskine Crannog Link at NS45477291; see LinkExternal link at Canmore;
● Langbank East Crannog (or Westferry Crannog) at NS40507318; see LinkExternal link at Canmore;
● Langbank West Crannog at NS38147355; see LinkExternal link at Canmore;
● See LinkExternal link at Canmore for another report, but note the comments there from 2015.
by Lairich Rig
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11 images use this description:

NS4173 : Dumbuck Crannog: piles and platform by Lairich Rig
NS4173 : Dumbuck Crannog: radial timbers by Lairich Rig
NS4173 : Dumbuck Crannog by Lairich Rig
NS4173 : Dumbuck Crannog by Lairich Rig
NS4173 : Former course of the Witches Plantain Burn by Lairich Rig
NS4173 : Dumbuck Crannog - remains of timber piles (south-east) by Lairich Rig
NS4173 : Dumbuck Crannog - the remains of the platform by Lairich Rig
NS4173 : The location of Dumbuck Crannog by Lairich Rig
NS4173 : Dumbuck Crannog from the south by Lairich Rig
NS4173 : Dumbuck Crannog by Lairich Rig
NS4173 : Dumbuck Crannog - remains of timber piles (north-east) by Lairich Rig


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Created: Mon, 2 Nov 2009, Updated: Mon, 5 Mar 2018

The 'Shared Description' text on this page is Copyright 2009 Lairich Rig, however it is specifically licensed so that contributors can reuse it on their own images without restriction.

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