To make it easier for contributors to add new sites, the pages for Scotland are currently being reorganised according to the present Scottish Council areas.
A map of these can be seen on the Gazetteer for Scotland website.
TWO of Scotland's main heritage bodies are to merge, it has been confirmed.
The Scottish Government published a strategy document for the "historic environment" yesterday as Fiona Hyslop, the culture secretary, launched a Bill to address the management of the nation's built heritage... continues...
Reclusive American leaves Scotland his £2.5m fortune
A 79 year old recluse has left his fortune to the National Trust of Scotland. He had never visited apparently and his conception of Scotland was based on the film Brigadoon. His only friend, the barber, got the pug and a vet's bill.
Ramblers Scotland is backing a petition to force a Scottish Government review on unsightly vehicular hill tracks and electrified deer fencing in the Scottish countryside. "Neither requires planning permission and both cause scars on our wild landscapes" says Helen todd, Ramblers Scotland's development officer... continues...
Mathematical analysis of Scottish Stone Art points to lost language?
At New Scientist web site:
"Elaborate symbols and ornate depictions of animals carved in stone by an ancient Scottish people have given up their secret – to mathematics. Statistical analysis reveals that the shapes are a forgotten written language... continues...
In a silent move, the RCAHMS switched to a state-of-the-art update of the good old Canmore database on 11th March 2009.
It really looks much better and there are obvious advantages over the old format like direct access instead of a log-in procedure and, when available, a 10-digit gridref... continues...
The Hunterian museum is re-assembling his(mostly Northern Isles) donation and adding this to their catalogue as they go http://www.huntsearch.gla.ac.uk
At present this is text-only but images will be added over the coming months
The name "Thunderbolt" was also given in Scotland to stone axes until within recent years. A finely formed axe of aphanite found in Berwickshire, and presented to the Museum in 1876, was obtained about twenty years before from a blacksmith in whose smithy it had long lain. It was known in the district as "the thunderbolt," and had probably been preserved in the belief that it had fallen from the sky.
In Shetland stone axes were said to protect from thunder the houses inwhich they were preserved. One found at Tingwall was acquired from an old woman in Scalloway, who believed it to be a "thunderbolt," and "of efficacy in averting evil from the dwelling in which it was kept;" while another, believed to have "fallen from the skies during a thunderstorm," was preserved in the belief that "it brought good luck to the house."
In the North-East of Scotland they "were coveted as the sure bringers of success, provided they were not allowed to fall to the ground."
In the British Museum there is a very fine axe of polished green quartz, mounted in silver, which is stated to have been sewed to a belt which was worn round the waist by a Scottish officer as a cure for kidney disease.
The late Sir Daniel Wilson mentions an interesting tradition regarding the large perforated stone hammers, which he says were popularly known in Scotland almost till the close of last century as "Purgatory Hammers," for the dead to knock with at the gates of Purgatory.
Mr. Stuart adverted to the varying circumstances under which flint arrowheads were found. The popular belief which long regarded them as "elf-darts," and which was not confined to Scotland, had been expressed by the well-known Scottish geographer, Robert Gordon of Straloch, about two centuries ago. After giving some details about them, he adds that these wonderful stones are sometimes found in the fields, and in public and beaten roads, but never by searching for them; to-day perhaps one will be found where yesterday nothing could be seen, and in the afternoon in places where before noon there was none, and this most freqently under clear skies and in summer days. He then gives instances related to him by a man and woman of credit, each of whom while riding found an arrowhead in their clothes in this unexpected way.
Described on p174 of 'The Gentleman's Magazine' Jan-June 1861.
Insular stone Circles :-
In a talk on Wednesday by Colin Richards his subject was the Stone Circles in Orkney and Lewis, which contrary to expectation turned out to be of different natures and for different purposes. Those in Orkney are constructed of material from seperate areas (Stones of Stenness five different sandstones, Ring of Brodgar twelve different geologies in distinct segments of the circle that significantly aren't always curved arcs) whilst those on Lewis are built of rock from their immediate vicinity (also the evidence is that both Orcadian circles were intentionally incomplete, from which he infers the rituals of the construction were an end in themselves). His ?new idea is that those on Orkney had place as the key factor (place of origin, spatial community) whilst those on Lewis had folk as the key factor (family, dispersed community [moiety ?] }.
From which is extrapolated that our obsession with geometry and algnments isn't theirs, that what looks incomplete to us is meant as is, and that whatever comes after is most likely not the original intent, that being the construction process itself.
"I left Banks very happy and made my way to the Tomb of the Eagles. In comparison to Banks this place seems better organised in terms of signage and parking. I paid my entry fee (£6.80 I think it was) and was led into an adjoining room where a member of the staff was talking to a small group of visitors about the tomb."
"I was awoken at 5am by some other person arriving and parking right next to me with their radio blasting out… what is it with people and their need to make as much noise as possible regardless of what other people might think… I was very glad when the ferry arrived and I booked in, boarded and sat down somewhere quiet."
"After successfully transferring from train to bus and finally plane, I arrived in a reasonably sunny Inverness. It was about 4pm and after picking up the hire car I made my way towards the Bronze Age Clava Cairns, a short distance east from the city. On the way I noticed a sign for the Culloden battle field and decided to take a quick look (well, I was already going past it after all)..."
Bog material reveals 11,500 years of Scottish history at prehistoric hillforts near Edinburgh
Evidence of prehistoric man and the woodland clearances of the Iron Age are found at the site of two hillforts near Edinburgh
Peat from a bog near Edinburgh contains 11,500-year-old vegetation and glimpses of the impact made by humans on the landscape from as far back as the Neolithic period, say experts who have foraged seven metres into the earth across parts of a site previously known for prehistoric settlements.
Ravelrig Bog, where an early Iron Age palisaded homestead was found during preparations for a quarry extension, contains two hillforts. Kaimes Hill offers evidence of human activity from the Mesolithic period, while the unexcavated Dalmahoy Hill is thought to have been occupied during the pre-Roman Iron Age and early medieval times.
Woodland resources for fuel and building material, found at the homestead, have been radiocarbon dated to between 400 and 800 BC.
“The bog started out as a small lochan [lake] within a rocky hollow that was formed at the end of the last glacial period,” says archaeobotanist Susan Ramsay, discussing pollen analysis on the Ravelrig core as part of a report concluding that there is “plentiful archaeological evidence” of the people who once roamed the region.
“Aquatic plants gave way to marshland and finally raised Sphagnum bog as natural succession progressed.
“During the early Holocene, the woodlands of the area were dominated by birch, hazel and willow but developed into mixed oak, elm and hazel woodlands by the mid-Holocene.
Most previous studies of the vegetation history of central Scotland have concentrated on the last 3,000 years of environmental history.
“This has tended to be because extensive industrial and agricultural activity in the central belt of Scotland, which was the industrial heartland of the country, has removed many potential sites of palaeoenvironmental importance over recent centuries, and so there have been few chances to construct a pollen diagram from this region that covers most of the Holocene period.
“The presence at Ravelrig Bog of an area of deep peat in an area that has a rich archaeological record and is also located close to agricultural land provided a unique opportunity to study the effects of human activity on the environment of this part of Scotland.”
An initial survey, in 2007, revealed the incredible scientific potential of a core deposit covering more than 10,000 years of history.
“Previous studies have suggested that the first major woodland clearances in central Scotland occurred in the pre-Roman Iron Age, with the cleared agricultural landscape being maintained throughout the Roman period,” says Ramsay.
“However, at Ravelrig, human impact on the landscape is recorded from the Neolithic period onwards, with increasing woodland clearance and agricultural activity in the Bronze Age and a peak in activity in the pre-Roman Iron Age.
“Pastoral agriculture was the dominant form of farming in the area, although there is evidence for the cultivation of cereals from the later Bronze Age onwards.
“These periods of agricultural intensification appear to correspond with known periods of occupation at the nearby hillforts.”
A slight decline in agriculture between 250 BC and AD 150 could have followed the abandonment of Dalmahoy and the Roman invasion.
“Birch pollen levels increased significantly, suggesting that land that was previously farmed was abandoned and was gradually colonised by birch woodland,” says Ramsay.
The birches gave rise to the oak and elm trees which later colonised the woods.
A slight increase in activity, between AD 400 and 600, could show that the hill fort was set for reoccupation during the early medieval period, although the subsequent 850 years saw alder and birch growth take over, chiming with evidence from other sites in central Scotland at the time.
“It is not clear what the cause of this agricultural decline might be but further work may be able to determine a more precise date range for this event,” believes Ramsay.
“It has been suggested that there were some reversions to a colder and wetter climate during the sixth to ninth centuries AD, which could explain why areas once suitable for agriculture perhaps became too wet to grow crops and agriculture had to be moved to sites with better drainage.
“This explanation could account for the significant increase in alder – a tree of wetter areas and river banks that is seen at Ravelrig during this period.
“The last major episode of woodland clearance began around AD 1450, with the cleared landscape continuing until the present day.”
The full results of the research, funded by Tarmac Ltd have been published at archaeologyreportsonline. com.