E. Osborne-Martin, ed., (2012). Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 142. Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. https://doi.org/10.5284/1000184.

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Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 142
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Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
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Erin Osborne-Martin
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Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
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26 Apr 2015
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Hugh Cheape
1 - 8
Richard Tipping
Richard Bradley
Jeff Sanders
Robert McCulloch
Robert R Wilson
9 - 25
There is strong evidence for many key turning points in Scottish and north-west European prehistory '“ what we call moments of 'crisis' '“ to be associated with evidence for widespread and abrupt natural changes in climate. Association or coincidence are not cause, though, and the testing of specific hypotheses to establish this relation is needed. The timing of these moments of abrupt climatic change in Scottish prehistory is proposed in a review of the many new data-sets of prehistoric climate change affecting the North Atlantic region. The case is made that Scotland in prehistory, because of its location in the North Atlantic region, should become a testing-ground of the relation between prehistoric society and climate change, to move debate beyond merely coincidence matching.
Richard Bradley
Aaron Watson
Hugo Anderson-Whymark
Rosemary Stewart
27 - 61
How were Neolithic rock carvings related to the areas around them? Were they associated with structures or deposits of artefacts, and did that relationship differ between landscapes with earlier prehistoric monuments, and places where they were absent? This paper discusses the results of excavation around four decorated surfaces at All Coire Phadairlidh on the National Trust for Scotland's Ben Lawers Estate. They are compared with fieldwork around two conspicuous rocks on the same site, neither of which had been carved. No monuments were present in the vicinity, although there was a 'natural' standing stone. Excavation showed that all the decorated surfaces were associated with deposits of artefact, some of them on top of the rocks and others at their base. The more complex carvings were associated with the largest collections, and the control sample of undecorated rocks was not associated with any finds. The excavated material included two pieces of Arran pitchstone, a worked flint, a beach pebble, and a substantial quantity of broken and flaked quartz. One of the decorated outcrops was associated with an area of cobbles containing a number of artefacts. Fossil pollen sealed by this deposit suggested that the surrounding area was used as upland pasture; similar evidence was obtained from another rock carving at Tombr3eck, 5 km away. Some of the fragments of broken quartz were parts of broken hammerstones, but the distribution of these pieces showed little relationship to the hardness of the rocks where they were found, or the extent of the associated carvings. On the other hand it was closely related to the composition of the stone. Carvings on epidiorite were not associated with many artefacts, but that did not apply to those created on mica schist which glitters in the sun and even in moonlight. It may be that these surfaces of these stones had been prepared by pecking or hammering in order to enhance this effect. If so, the selection of particular rocks for special attention may have been as important as the designs that were created there.
Steven J Mithen
Karen Wicks
63 - 132
Activity within caves provides an important element of the later prehistoric and historic settlement pattern of western Scotland. This contribution reports on a small-scale excavation within Croig Cave, on the coast of north-west Mull, that exposed a 1.95 m sequence of midden deposits and cave floors that date between c 1700 BC and AD 1400. Midden analysis indicated the processing of a diverse range of small fish and the collection of shellfish throughout this period, showing a high degree of continuity involving low-risk inshore fishing. At c 950 BC, a penannular copper bracelet and an amber bead were deposited within a small, shallow pit within the cave floor, suggestive of a discrete ritual episode within the cycle of otherwise potentially mundane activities. Lead isotope analysis indicated an Irish origin for the copper ore. A piece of iron slag within later midden deposits, dated to c 400 BC, along with high frequencies of wood charcoal, suggest that smithing or smelting may have occurred within the cave. High zinc levels in the historic levels of the midden c AD 1200 might indicate intensive processing of seaweed.
Robert Janiszweski
133 - 144
An intriguing gold object with Latin inscriptions was found in the 18th century, in Cove, Dumfries and Galloway. Currently lost, it survived in a few antiquarian accounts. In this paper, in the light of these written sources and parallel examples, the author will try to discuss its function, possible time of import and the character of its deposition.
Martin O H Carver
John C Barrett
Jane M Downes
Janet Hooper
145 - 199
`Pitcarmick-type' houses were identified by the Royal Commission in north-east Perthshire in 1988 and published in their survey of 1990. Long and narrow with rounded ends, they seemed to occur in a sequence between prehistoric roundhouses and medieval and post-medieval dwellings. They were therefore provisionally assigned to the later 1st millennium AD, a period associated in this region with the Picts. Excavations by John Barrett and Jane Downes at Pitcarmick (North) in 1993-5 defined the basic properties of two Pitcarmick-type houses and produced radiocarbon dates between the 8th and 11th centuries. A subsequent survey of the broader landscape by Janet Hooper offered a sequence of the main phases of occupation and their context. The Pitcarmick landscape had been settled in the Bronze Age with circular stone-and-turf houses, thought to represent a series of self-supporting farmsteads using mixed farming and in touch with similar settlements in adjacent territory. Two thousand years later, Early Historic settlers inserted their dwellings into this relict landscape, also practising mixed stock and crop farming. In the Middle Ages, the land was settled by farmers who kept sheep and ploughed the earlier settlement areas. The post-medieval period is represented by a group of shielings on the eastern edge of the prehistoric and early medieval settlement area, where ploughing continued. The original interpretation is revised in the light of new research on artefacts and the acquisition of tighter radiocarbon dates.
David H Caldwell
Susy Kirk
Gilbert Markus
James Tate
Sharon Webb
201 - 244
The Kilmichael Glassary Bell-shrine is one of the treasures of National Museums Scotland. This paper re-assesses the circumstances of its discovery, its context and importance, and its role as a relic of a saint, not Moluaf, as previously suggested but possibly Columba. The wider use of handbells in the early medieval church is also considered. The bell-shrine was found in 1814, on the farm of Torbhlaren, in the parish of Kilmichael Glassary, in mainland Argyll, probably near to where it was venerated. The bell inside it dates to the 7th-9th century, the shrine to the first half of the 12th century. The latter bears evidence in its design of a mixed artistic heritage, including local, Irish and Scandinavian influence. Alternative hypotheses. That it represents the artistic output of the kingdom of the Isles of Dunkeld, in the kingdom of the Scots, are presented. Details are provided of a technological examination of bell and shrie and list of other early Scottish handbells is included.
Erlend Hindmarch
Richard Oram
245 - 299
Excavations on the Archerfield Estate, East Lothian, have uncovered evidence in the form of buildings and enclosures, for the lost village of Eldbotle, a settlement which was in use from the 5th century AD to the 18th century, but at its peak during the 13th and 14th centuries. Excavated rural settlements of this date are rare in Scotland so this has been used as a rare opportunity to explore the impact of national political and environmental events, and their social and economic repercussions, on the development and evolution of a small agricultural community like Eldbotle. Thus by weaving multiple strands of evidence together, the settlement at Eldbotle has been borught to life, despite the limited nature of the archaeological record.
Moira K Greig
301 - 328
The peninsula known as Castle Point, Troup, was occupied or used from the late Neolithic period to the Second World War. This paper deals with the construction and use of the castle, from the 13th to 17th centuries. The excavations of the castle site revealed the footings of a rectangular tower, with a cobbled courtyard and the remains of a kitchen range to its south-east. Within the kitchen was a collapsed fireplace arch bearing two similar mason's marks. A small quantity of pottery sherds, three coins, dated to the 16th century, and a few other artefacts were also recovered. Evidence of earlier medieval structures underlay the kitchen area, including a number of stone drains, two narrow clay-lined channels and a pit.
Anne Crone
Coralie M Mills
329 - 369
This paper examines the dendrochronological data from Scottish buildings in terms of the proxy evidence it provides for the timber trade and condition of the woodland resource in the centuries under review. The bulk of the timber used in the construction of high status buildings during this period was either oak or pine, imported mainly from Scandinavia and the countries bordering the eastern Baltic. The documentary record for timber imports in Scotland is examined and compared with the physical evidence from the timbers themselves. The poor state of the native deciduous woodlands during this period is reflected in the dendrochronological data and explains the predominance of imported timber. While native Scottish pine has a long history of domestic use, exploitation escalated from the 17th century; There is much more pine in Scottish buildings of post-medieval date, both imported and native, and the difficulties and successes in identifying native pine in buildings is discussed. For the architectural historian and archaeologist, the relationship between the felling date of the timber and the construction of the building is critical to the interpretation of dendrochronological data. The issues which bear upon that relationship, seasoning, transportation times, stockpiling and recycling are considered in a Scottish context.
L Paterson
371 - 412
There are ample surviving references in the witchcraft trial material to indicate that the witches' sabbath became an important feature of the crime of witchcraft in Scotland. Comparison of the trial material has revealed numerous discrepancies between individual and group accounts of the witches sabbath. The frequent inability of the witches to agree upon a time, date or place that the witches' sabbath took place have indicated that, in the case studied, the witches' sabbath was not a genuine historical event. Elite beliefs and ideas about the witches' sabbath were frequently introduced during interrogations, and certainly left their mark upon the witchcraft records. However the examination process was often a negotiation between witches and their interrogators, and as such allowed many witches to incorporate their own beliefs and ideas into their descriptions of the witches' sabbath. Close reading of the trial material, combined with an analysis of contemporary presbytery records and popular ballads, provides evidence that many witches were drawing upon popular beliefs about fairies, magic and the supernatural, as well as their experiences at real life celebrations and festivities, to compose their descriptions of the witches' sabbath. The majority of confessions that contain descriptions of the witches' Sabbath are the product of this interrogation and negotiation process, but this research has also explored the possibility that the witches' Sabbath might have been a real visionary experience for some witches, and that these visionary experiences were fantasies induced by psychological trauma, or a waking or sleeping vision similar to those experienced by tribal shamans. This research has demonstrated that may pre-existing popular beliefs contributed to the formulation of the witches' descriptions of the witches' Sabbath and also stresses the importance of the influence of the interrogation process on the initial presence of the witches' sabbath in confessions. Although this research has been carried out within the context of Early Modern Scotland, it is likely to have wider implications for the study of the witches' sabbath in a European context.
Louise Turner
413 - 434
Recent regeneration works in the east end of Glasgow prompted Forestry Commission Scotland to re-evaluate their landholdings at Cuningar Loop, north-east of Rutherglen. This paper explores Cuningar Loop's hidden past as a key location in the wider early 19th-century attempt to furnish Glasgow's ever-expanding population with water. Using historical sources, it examines how a committee of influential citizens established, managed and implemented the project. It also explores how the committee relied on the great engineers of the time, in particular, Thomas Telford and James Watt, to deliver the project using cutting edge technology which ultimately proved inadequate. This sheds light upon the network of social relations revealed by the correspondence of the protagonists, and explores the physical legacy of these early engineers in a city where these pioneering works have been eclipsed by the later Victorian scheme to draw potable water from Loch Katrine.
Anna Ritchie
435 - 465
William B M Galloway (1832-97) is one of the less well-known Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in the second half of the 19th century whose achievements deserve recognition. He was an architect with a distinct archaeological bent, and he was particularly interested in early ecclesiastical buildings and sculpture. He appears to have worked freelance after an initial training in Patrick Wilson's architectural practice, and he is best known for his work at Whithorn Priory. He collaborated with Sir Henry Dryden over the latter's surveys of St Magnus Cathedral and Iona Abbey, and more than a hundred letters are preserved in the Orkney Archive. These illuminate many of his diverse archaeological activities, including Viking-age burials in Colonsay, as well as his approach to architectural conservation and his interest in photography. He was very active in the Society in the 1870s but appears to have fallen out with Joseph Anderson, the Keeper of the Museum, in the early 1880s.
467 - 492
493 - 512