Ancient Monuments

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Ruthven, crannog 610m NNE of

A Scheduled Monument in Aird and Loch Ness, Highland

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Latitude: 57.3174 / 57°19'2"N

Longitude: -4.3201 / 4°19'12"W

OS Eastings: 260368

OS Northings: 827589

OS Grid: NH603275

Mapcode National: GBR H9PC.ZTD

Mapcode Global: WH3G2.MB0Q

Entry Name: Ruthven, crannog 610m NNE of

Scheduled Date: 2 May 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11476

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: crannog; Secular: crannog (with post-prehistoric use)

Location: Dores

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Aird and Loch Ness

Traditional County: Inverness-shire


The monument comprises an artificial island or crannog, dating to between 3000 and 1000 years ago, situated at the western end of Loch Ruthven. It survives as a low circular stone- and grass-covered mound rising above the water level.

The crannog is approximately 1 m high and 1 7m in diameter, with the surface covered in grass. The mound broadens out below the water level to an approximate depth of 1.5 m. The loch level has been lowered in recent times, suggesting that the crannog may have been fully submerged prior to this. A second crannog lies 3180 m away at the eastern end of the loch. A medieval fortified knoll named Tom Buidhe lies 140 m to the SSE.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, centred on the crannog, to include the above and below water remains of the crannog and an area around in which evidence relating to its construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's archaeological significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics: The form and method of construction of this crannog is unknown, yet continued flooding of the loch will have ensured that any waterlogged structural timbers and environmental, organic and archaeological deposits associated with the crannog are well preserved. This evidence has the potential to provide future study information on the lifestyle, consumption patterns, status and environment of the crannog's occupants. Use of the loch for fishing and as part of a SSSI is unlikely to have damaged any deposits in the above-water parts of the crannog.

Contextual characteristics: Through comparison with the other crannog in this loch, as well as others, this crannog has the potential to inform upon changes in the techniques of crannog construction and site location from later prehistory to the Middle Ages. It can also inform upon the wider social and cultural contexts of crannog occupation. This is particularly relevant for the medieval period, when there is a close spatial relationship between crannogs and other forms of lordly sites, such as that found at Tom Buidhe. Study of this monument has the potential to inform upon our understanding of this relationship and place it within a wider landscape.

Associative characteristics: In 1913 Blundell noted that it was said locally that a causeway could be seen leading from the island to Tom Buidhe on the S shore of the loch. No trace of this can be seen on the ground or on aerial photographs. A second, much smaller, island lies between the crannog and the shore, but is probably not large enough to be a crannog. The monument is marked on the Ordnance Survey First Edition map of 1875.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it is a well-preserved example of a poorly understood monument type. It has the potential to enhance our understanding of the methods of construction used at this crannog and developments in the environmental, economic, cultural and social contexts of its inhabitants. Evidence gained from here will have inferences for a future understanding of crannog building and occupation, and therefore Scottish society as a whole, over a wide period. It has particular relevance to further our knowledge of the role that crannogs play within the display of medieval Highland lordship. Its loss would significantly detract from our ability to understand these issues.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the site as NH62NW 4.


Blundell F O 1913, 'Further notes on the artificial islands in the Highland area', PROC SOC ANTIQ SCOT 47, 269-70.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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