A medieval logboat from the River Conon

towards an understanding of riverine transport in Highland Scotland

Robert J C Mowat (Author)

Trevor Cowie (Author)

Anne Crone (Author)

Graeme Cavers (Author)

Earthworks, Timber, Logboat
1874, Medieval, 13th century, 14th century


Three timbers held in store at the National Museums of Scotland have been identified as the incomplete remains of a logboat that was found in the River Conon near Dingwall in 1874. Notwithstanding their poor condition, they were felt to justify dating (by both radiocarbon and dendrochronology), laser scanning (to create a ‘virtual’ reconstruction) and re-publication, subsequent to that by Mowat (1996: 22, 24, no 28 and 86, nos A21–22).
Radiocarbon dating showed the vessel to be of medieval date, while tree-ring evidence indicated that it was probably fashioned in the late 13th or early 14th centuries from an oak tree of some 300 years growth. This is the first logboat in Scotland to be dated by dendrochronology, and the results significantly extend the coverage of Scottish medieval tree-ring dates north of Inverness.
Specific features suggest that the remains may have formed one element within a vessel of paired (or possibly multiple) form, intended for the cross-river transport of heavy loads. These results invite wider consideration of the role of simple or ‘undeveloped’ types of watercraft in riverine transport in Highland Scotland and elsewhere.


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How to Cite
Mowat, R. J. C., Cowie, T., Crone, A., & Cavers, G. (2016). A medieval logboat from the River Conon: towards an understanding of riverine transport in Highland Scotland. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 145, 307–340. https://doi.org/10.9750/PSAS.145.307.340

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