D. Barrie, ed., (2006). Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 136. Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

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Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 136
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Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
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Debra Barrie
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Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
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URL: http://www.socantscot.org/ProceedingsSAIR.html
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08 Oct 2007
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1 - 5
Kenneth Brophy
7 - 46
In 1985 a review of Scottish Neolithic studies from an outside perspective written by Ian Kinnes was published in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. The paper offered a discussion of the state of knowledge of Scotland's Neolithic at that time, reviewing forty years of excavation results. He was critical of what he saw as the parochial and derivative nature of Neolithic studies in Scotland. The paper discusses the response to this charge; a review of major developments in Neolithic studies since 1985 has also been undertaken, and the results of this are included. The impact of developer-funded archaeology and aerial photography in particular has generated new data not available in 1985; these data have been generated within a new theoretical climate in Neolithic studies, and this too is addressed. Review of evidence for settlement and monuments are presented as case studies to exemplify progress made since 1985.
David Lawrence
47 - 60
The human skeletal remains from the Neolithic chambered cairn of Isbister, Orkney were re-examined to test the accuracy of observations reported in the published analysis. During the examination, pathological lesions, signs of weathering and other taphonomic markers were recorded. Two marked disparities between the study and the published report were discovered: the Isbister population was found to display a high prevalence rate of pathological symptoms not previously described; and the bones were found not to display any great degree of the weathering, bleaching and other erosion remarked upon in the published literature. Doubt is also cast on the published calculation of minimum number of individuals interred. It is argued that the most likely explanation for the apparent differences in results is the systematic misinterpretation of pathological symptoms as evidence of taphonomic processes. It is suggested that there is no supporting evidence for the view that external exposure or preliminary disarticulation occurred prior to interment in Isbister chambered cairn.
T N Todd
61 - 74
Over 400 carved stone balls have been found in Scotland, usually attributed to the Neolithic period and often described as `unknown in function' or `probably ritualistic'. The article offers a new hypothesis for their use, demonstrating that these balls are unexpectedly well optimized, in terms of their aerodynamics and mass, for unaided throwing by hand. This may explain their otherwise surprising uniformity in size and weight and their generally rough surface texture (which reduces air drag), due to carving and/or picking-out left unpolished. The mass distribution for over 200 examples held in various Scottish museums and archive stores is presented in support of this hypothesis. Includes Appendix 1: possible applications of the carved stone balls of Scotland.
Murdo Macdonald
75 - 76
Alison Sheridan
Ian Suddaby
77 - 88
In 2004 an archaeological evaluation prior to development at Beechwood Park, adjacent to Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, revealed a pit which was found to contain both an undecorated beaker and a plano-convex flint knife at the base, with later slag from iron smithing dispersed in the fill. These associations are discussed and placed in their local and national context. Separately authored contributions include: The beaker; The plano-convex knife; The slag.
Steven J Dockrill
Z Outram
C M Batt
89 - 110
The paper presents new chronological data for the construction of a Shetland broch and examines the archaeological repercussions for the `early' chronology provided by these dates. Excavations at Old Scatness in the south Mainland of Shetland have revealed new evidence for a broch and defended Iron Age village. The authors discuss the arguments surrounding the origins and date of construction of brochs.
Tim Phillips
Iain Hampsher-Monk
Philip Abramson
111 - 134
The paper describes an excavation at Strichen monument, often considered an anomaly with its recumbent stone and flankers apparently on the north side of a stone circle, rather than to the south or southwest as is usually the case with this class of monument. Although the site had been badly damaged by modern activities, the excavations were able to demonstrate that the recumbent and flankers originally lay on the southern side of a prehistoric stone circle. A sequence was revealed showing that a roundhouse-like structure and a timber circle had been constructed in the Early Iron Age inside an Early Bronze Age monument. Comparisons with other Early Bronze Age sites that were reused in the Later Bronze and Iron Ages suggest that this may be part of a wider pattern in prehistoric Scotland. After the fieldwork was completed, the stones of the monument were re-erected in the sockets revealed by the excavation.
Fraser Hunter
135 - 160
Four unpublished armlets of the Later Iron Age `massive' tradition are described and discussed. Two are late-twentieth-century finds, a third being an antiquarian discovery to which a Fetlar (Shetland) provenance can be restored; this casts light on the intellectual networks of the late-eighteenth century, as well as being the first find of early Celtic art from the islands. A further armlet previously provenanced only to the Glamis area can be located to Templelands of Meigle, Perth and Kinross, from antiquarian sources. Current knowledge of this artistic tradition, its products, purpose and stimuli, are reviewed. Includes Appendix: unpublished finds of Iron Age decorative metalwork from eastern Scotland
J D Bateson
Nicholas M McQ Holmes
161 - 198
Coins and other numismatic finds from some 270 locations across Scotland are listed and discussed.
Fraser Hunter
Neil G W Curtis
199 - 214
The provenance of two Roman bronze vessels in the collections of Marischal Museum has recently been discovered in the journal F Rev John Skinner's 1825 Northern Tour. The reliability of this source is discussed, alongside a consideration of the antiquarian networks of the time. The vessels comprise a dipper and strainer set; unusually, the strainer is unfinished, and possible implications of this are considered. Includes Appendix: Roman items from north-east Scotland in Marischal Museum
Geoffrey R Adams
215 - 226
A survey was undertaken of the inscriptions from the early medieval period in Scotland in both Roman and Ogham script which have not been deciphered to the satisfaction of all scholars. It is argued that these inscriptions are linguistic in nature, implying a link between letters and sounds. The inscriptions of this period, excluding ones known to be in Latin or Old Irish, are surveyed, drawing attention to patterns in the distribution of sounds. The occurrence of sounds represented by letters in terminal positions in units of speech is contrasted with the occurrence of sounds in other environments, and it is shown that the terminal sounds conform to a constraint excluding consonantal stops. This is consistent with the behaviour of a single language, reasonably identified as Pictish, in these texts, though it is possible that there is more than one language within these undeciphered inscriptions.
John F Potter
227 - 236
The paper presents an examination of stone emplacement which indicates that, contrary to the belief that the first stone ecclesiastical buildings in Scotland date from the earliest-twelfth century, English Saxon-style craftsmanship is evident in a number of early Scottish churches. It is suggested that, as in England, pre-Norman Conquest masons in Scotland chose to emplace many of their stones, in structures like quoins and jambs, with the bedding orientated vertically. The recognition of the existence of pre-twelfth-century stone churches in Scotland is consistent with the prevalence of other forms of early Christian stoneworking in that period.
Meggen M Gondek
237 - 258
The burial ground at Cladh a'Bhile in Mid-Argyll contains a collection of twenty-nine carved stones. The descriptive recording and analysis of this early historic sculpture has been the main focus of previous study. The sculpture itself offers limited scope for interpreting what Cladh a'Bhile was in the early historic period; however it is argued that, through a consideration of the potential early historic features at and around Cladh a'Bhile, more information can be brought to bear on the function and context of this collection of carved monuments. Different functions can be proposed for the site, including an isolated cemetery or a monastic context. However the incorporation of Cladh a'Bhile into the wider coastal landscape of Loch Caolisport suggests a further context for the site. Through the exploration of the associated archaeology, topography and place-names set within this landscape, it may be suggested that the burial ground and its sculpture may have played a part in inaugural rituals associated with early historic kingship.
Aaron M Allen
259 - 296
Robin Tait
259 - 296
The paper presents a study in occupational mapping, the focus of which is on combining locational data for early modern occupations with a contemporaneous town plan of Edinburgh, in order to study occupational distribution in the urban environment. By combining data from a 1635 tax roll with the corresponding section of the 1647 Gordon of Rothiemay map of Edinburgh, a new tool was formed for visualizing the distribution and physical patterns of urban occupations in the southeast quarter of Scotland's capital.
Melanie Johnson
Tim Neighbour
Richard Oram
311 - 332
A research project was undertaken at Gilmerton Cove, Edinburgh, a subterranean complex of rooms and passages cut into the sandstone bedrock, in advance of its development as a visitor attraction. Historic research indicates that the Cove was built in the early-eighteenth century. Excavation revealed hitherto unknown details of the layout of the Cove, including the presence of features cut into the rock floors; a well or cistern; a sump; and a second entrance. Separately authored contributions include Historical research; Ground-penetrating radar survey; Excavation; The cottage above the Cove; Finds: ceramics.
Kathleen Anderson
333 - 335
The article describes how the behaviour of sunlight on the stonework at two points in the nave of Arbroath Abbey allows the moment of astronomic noon (Greenwich mean time plus ten minutes) to be identified between the months of September and March.
336 - 350
351 - 367