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When timber was available, many were surrounded by a circle of wooden piles with axe-sharpened bases that were driven into the bottom, forming a circular enclosure that helped to retain the main mound and prevent erosion.
Preservation and conservation techniques for waterlogged materials such as logboats or structural material were all but non-existent, and a number of extremely important finds perished as a result: in some instances dried out for firewood.
Island settlement in Scotland and Ireland is manifest through the entire range of possibilities ranging from entirely natural, small islets to completely artificial islets, therefore definitions will invariably remain contentious.
For crannogs in the strict sense, typically this effort began on a shallow reef or rise in the lochbed.
Interpretations of crannog function are not static through time; instead they appear to change in both the archaeological and historic records.
Rather than largely simple domestic residences in prehistory, the medieval crannogs were increasingly seen as strongholds of the upper class or regional political players such as Gaelic chieftains like the O'Boylans and Mc Mahons in County Monaghan and the Kingdom of Airgíalla until the 17th century.