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Fornet Cottage, crannog 290m north of

A Scheduled Monument in Bishopton, Bridge of Weir and Langbank, Renfrewshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.9249 / 55°55'29"N

Longitude: -4.5542 / 4°33'15"W

OS Eastings: 240505

OS Northings: 673148

OS Grid: NS405731

Mapcode National: GBR 0M.ZNW5

Mapcode Global: WH3NR.0BMR

Entry Name: Fornet Cottage, crannog 290m N of

Scheduled Date: 11 February 2011

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12890

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: crannog

Location: Erskine

County: Renfrewshire

Electoral Ward: Bishopton, Bridge of Weir and Langbank

Traditional County: Renfrewshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of a marine crannog and a possible causeway, probably of later prehistoric or early historic date, located on the intertidal flats approximately 290m N of Fornet Cottage and 95m N of the high water line.

Visible at low tide, the monument appears as conspicuous oval mound of seaweed-covered stones, measuring approximately 45m E-W by 30m transversely. The core of the site is a raised central area where there are traces of a rectangular construction some 20m long and 15m wide. Running between the shore and the monument is a double row of stones, variously interpreted as evidence for a causeway or possibly a later land boundary.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

Appearing as a low but conspicuous mound of stones, the crannog survives in good condition. Additionally there are several possible features visible on the crannog's northern side. These take the form of several sub-rectangular or circular stone pools. No timbers are readily visible at the site.

Associated with the crannog are two parallel rows of stones, running from the shore to the mound's south-eastern arc. Initially interpreted as evidence for a causeway, recent re-survey of the crannog suggested they may be a later feature, possibly marking an area between the shore and the monument. The stone rows are, at present, unique to this crannog site.

There is high potential for the survival of organic artefacts and deposits that can tell us about the crannog's construction and maintenance, its function, the daily lives of its inhabitants, and its subsequent abandonment. The monument also has the potential to inform our understanding of the impact of Roman occupation in this area in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD.

Contextual characteristics

A crannog is a man-made platform or island, built of timber and stone, standing partly or wholly in a loch, river or an estuary. Most Scottish crannogs are found in freshwater lochs and rivers, with a distribution spread from the Hebrides to southern Scotland. At present, only nine marine crannogs are known. Many crannogs date to the later prehistoric and early historic periods, a span of time from roughly 1000BC to about 1000AD. Some crannog sites appear to have been built and occupied as late as the 14th century.

Recent academic research suggests that marine crannogs served a different purpose to those found in freshwater lochs and rivers, although there are similarities in their construction and, in some cases, their date. Instead these sites are presently regarded as crossing points or staging posts for larger, coastal boats and for smaller craft used on the upper reaches of the Clyde.

Five shore-side crannogs are known on the River Clyde, although it is highly likely that others existed but have been destroyed by later development. Marine crannogs are found on both sides of the river from Old Kilpatrick to Langbank. All five marine crannogs lie just off promontories (for example, Langbank West) or occupy prominent sandbanks (Mar Hall).

Building a crannog probably demanded significant woodworking expertise as well as a sizable pool of labour and access to suitable timber. A site such as this stood on a mound of stone with substantial wooden piles driven into it. These piles supported a timber platform, usually oval or circular, where there would have been a sizeable circular timber hut. A stockade or fence probably enclosed the platform. A crannog may have had a dock or place for small boats to tie up, while some appear to have been linked to the shore by causeways. At Langbank East, a double row of boulders appears to mark the route of a causeway connecting it to dry land. Logboats, small wooden vessels, have been found on or close to several crannog sites across Scotland.

Associative characteristics

Of the five crannogs on the Clyde, Dumbuck remains the best-known site. Substantially excavated in the 1890s, Dumbuck captured public imagination through a series of illustrated reports prepared by its excavator, William Donnelly, for the London Illustrated News. However, a series of forged artefacts 'recovered' from Dumbuck sparked a substantial and long-running controversy in the Scottish archaeological community.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, in particular of marine crannogs, their dating, construction and function. The high level of preservation means there is excellent potential for the survival of organic deposits that can add significantly to our understanding of the daily lives of those who built and used the monument, as well as enhancing our understanding of the wider environment in which it stood. Finds from the site offer us the potential to identify associations between this crannog and other settlements in the area, including Roman military sites. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our ability to appreciate the place of marine crannogs in the wider landscape and their role in the contemporary economy and society of the area.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the site as NS47SE 29. The West of Scotland Archaeology Service SMR designation is 7901. The site lies within the Inner Clyde SSSI (SNH Ref: 1750).

References

Hale A, 1997, 'Langbank East: ?intertidal crannog', Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 1997, 66

Hale A, 2000, 'Marine crannogs: previous work and recent surveys', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol.130, 2, 551, 555 fig. 11

Hale A and Sands R, 2005, Controversy on the Clyde, RCAHMS, Glenrothes

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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