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Clunie - Perthshire

Clunie is the site of a crannog and early Medieval hill fort. The area 1st appears in historical records from AD 858 -  in the reign of Cinaed mac Ailpın, whose lands were ravaged by Norsemen as far as Clunie and Dunkeld.

Surveys have been undertaken by the University of Aberdeen but as yet the timings of occupation on the hill fort and crannog remain unknown.  

A royal hunting lodge is known to have existed close to the shore from at least 1141, which was occupied by King Edward I of England in 1276 and remained in royal hands until the 1430's and at some point there was a move to the island.

By the 1500's the island became an ecclesiastical residence and is closely associatedwith the bishops of Dunkeld in the sixteenth century.

Drone photos of the crannog and hillfort at Clunie by James O'Driscall
Drone photos of the crannog at Clunie by James O'Driscall

Drone photos of Clunie hill fort and crannog - by James O'Driscoll - University of Aberdeen

clunie radiocarbon dates.png

14C results 

Methods & results so far

Drone photos of the sediment core location at Clunie by James O'Driscall

Originally sediments were extracted as part of the Comparative Kingship project led by Gordon Noble, but this has rolled over into the current project


The coring team included myself, Gordon, James O'Driscoll & Edouard Masson-Maclean

Location of the core site

The aim is to investigate evidence of social change in the environmental record and to help identify the timings of occupation and land-use.

The pollen analysis is complete - Antonio MC is conducting the geochemistry. We have eight 14C dates  and all are in chronological order spanning 2400-2800 BC at 3 m to the 13-1400's at 40 cm.


Drone photos of Clunie hill fort and crannog - by James O'Driscoll - University of Aberdeen


Most exciting results so far is what appears to be happening to the cereals during the Late Roman period beginning ~AD 200-300 and lasting until roughly AD 690: The question is could this represent economic decline caused by Roman incursions against the Maiatai & Caledonii in the 3rd C. AD??? Still waiting for the geochem results, and to need to explore the chronology but story so far very interesting :). This will be the first publication of our project.

The early Medieval period is dominated by Barley cultivation

The middle ages from the 1200's-1500's represents a more mixed arable economy, perhaps linked to the the hillfort becoming a Royal Seat between the 12th-14th centuries??

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