This book looks at the evolution of rural settlement in Scotland from the Mesolithic period through to the improving movement of the 18th and 19th centuries. The main emphasis is on changes in society and technology, but the book also considers how the development of the physical landscape laid the foundation for such changes. The author strikes a balance between general perspectives (including relevant contextual materials such as the political structures) and local studies, with much emphasis on individual sites. Lack of documentation prior to the 10th century places particular importance on the archaeological evidence, but imaginative interpretation of this evidence has led to a major re-evaluation. Ideas emphasizing continuity of settlement and local adaptation are replacing older ’invasionist’ theories emphasizing Celtic war lords and broch-building pirates.
'Imaginative use of new findings and hypothetical modeling in archaeology and history makes this an exercise in forensic fieldwork and documentary analysis to advance a particular thesis…Turnock has made a major contribution to the clarification of ’the enigma of Scotland’s settlement history.' Choice
Contents: Introduction; The Physical Environment; Scotland prior to the Iron Age; Iron Age forts and brochs; The Dark Ages - Picts, Scots and Vikings; Medieval Scotland; The Improving Movement; Conclusion; Bibliography.