Ancient artificial islands in Scotland are much older than previously thought. In fact, the islands are thousands of years older which was determined by pottery that was found in Scottish lochs.
All across Scotland, there are hundreds of small man-made islands (or crannogs), specifically in the islands of the Outer Hebrides which are located off the north-west coast of the country. Previously, archaeologists thought that the oldest man-made island dated back to 800 B.C. during the Iron Age and that it was used for approximately 2,500 years.
However, a crannog located on the Outer Hebridean island of North Uist has been determined to date back to around 3700 B.C. during the Neolithic Period. This suggested that numerous other islands could also date back to that time period – thousands of years older than previously thought. And now it has been confirmed.
Well-preserved pots from the Neolithic Period located near a different crannog on the Outer Hebridean Isle of Lewis were discovered in 2012 by Chris Murray who was a former Navy diver. With the help from Murray, several other crannogs in the Outer Hebrides were then examined by Duncan Garrow from the University of Reading, UK, as well as one of his colleagues.
They used radiocarbon dating to determine how old the structural timbers and residue from the pots were and they concluded that they were from 3640 to 3360 B.C. Stones and wood were used to create the small islands. In fact, one of the islands that measured 26 by 22 meters was constructed with stones that each weighed up to 250 kilograms. It is believed that these crannogs were used for social gatherings, funerals, or ritualized feasting.
Of the hundreds of Neolithic pots that were discovered – some were found on the small islands, while the majority of them were discovered in the water – several of the pieces were surprisingly well preserved. Garrow wrote that the ceramics were intentionally put in the water based on how they were positioned and how many of them were discovered. Additionally, he mentioned that the ceramics pretty much remained in the same spots where they were left since the waters were so calm and stable – just waiting to be discovered over 5,000 years after they were put there.
To put this into an even better perspective, Stonehenge first started being built around 3100 B.C., several hundred years after the man-made islands of Scotland were created.