Underwater Islands Add to the Mystery of Orkney
By Stephen Stewart, May 10 2004
Archaeologists have re-discovered a lost chapter in Orkney's history which will develop the understanding of mysterious ancient monuments found across Scotland.
Underwater researchers are examining small, artificial islands in Orkney's inland waters, which have lain undiscovered for generations.
Crannogs were fortified places of refuge which are found throughout Scotland in lochs and other waters, but are a class of ancient monument not usually associated with Orkney. Bobby Forbes, an underwater archaeologist, is leading the project in a shallow loch which lies between Stromness and the Loch of Harray, in the vicinity of prehistoric remains at the Ring of Brodgar, Maes Howe and the Stones of Stenness.
He said: "We were doing some work in the Stenness Loch area and found two small islands with causeways, which were flooded by the sea. People have just not known about these man-made islands. The sites are not recorded in Orkney's sites and monuments record.
"We are eager to find out how these sites fit in with the rest of Orkney's archaeology. When they were created, agricultural land would have been at a premium.
"As people tried to avoid inhabiting agricultural land, they would have moved on to the loch and these very easily defended positions."
Some crannogs elsewhere in Scotland and Ireland were large enough to house whole communities, and others were important royal or monastic centres.
Posted by Jane
10th May 2004ce
Edited 10th May 2004ce