Scheduled Monument

Ruthven, crannog 610m NNE ofSM11476

Status: Designated


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The legal document available for download below constitutes the formal designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The additional details provided on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not form part of the designation. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within this additional information.


Date Added
Prehistoric domestic and defensive: crannog, Secular: crannog (with post-prehistoric use)
Local Authority
NH 60368 27589
260368, 827589


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.

Statement of National Importance

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.



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.

About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map (see ‘legal documents’ above) showing the scheduled area is the designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary and provided for general information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within the statement of national importance or additional information. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

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Printed: 26/02/2024 17:55