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Thread: Iron Age Galloway - was it really different from the rest of Scotland?

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    Iron Age Galloway - was it really different from the rest of Scotland?

    If you can read this and make up your mind, you are doing better than me.

    Making sense of Iron Age settlement patterns in Scotland
    http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index....ns-in-scotland

    Recent research by GUARD Archaeology into Iron Age settlement patterns in Galloway raises the question of whether the right perspective has been taken when trying to make sense of Iron Age settlement patterns across Scotland.

    Iron Age Galloway is a bit of a conundrum, difficult to clearly differentiate from the Iron Age characteristics of other regions of Scotland but often treated as somewhat distinct nonetheless. On the face of it, a distribution map of the various different classifications of site draws a ready distinction between Galloway and Dumfriesshire, the latter area often understood as sharing common traits with south-east Scotland, while the former area is seen as sharing more in common with Atlantic Scotland. To a certain degree these two areas encapsulate the perceived differences between the Iron Age settlement patterns of north-western and south-eastern Scotland.

    However, many of the distinctive settlement patterns in Galloway, such as the marked distribution of promontory forts along its coast, or the abundance of crannogs within its lochs, do not reflect cultural conditions; rather they reflect the topography of the region. Promontory forts and crannogs are widely distributed across Scotland, where local topography allows. There are simply more promontories and lochs in Galloway in comparison to areas like Dumfriesshire and the archaeology reflects this.

    But there is a potentially significant caveat to this....
    and so on and on, twisting round a dizzing number of hair-pin bends. If you are interested, the people of the region were the Novantae, according to Ptolemy. http://www.ancestraljourneys.org/cel...lowlands.shtml

    IA-Scotland1.jpg

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    There's maybe not many people who would get excited by a report on Iron Age Galloway, but I'm one of them, this is pure catnip for me. It's a pet obsession of mine and a region that I love. This is great, thanks.

    The reason why there are no crannogs in the Lake District has always bothered me. It looks almost as if you could walk across the Solway some days. The same difference persists in the neolithic to an extent, with court cairns etc. The tyranny of geography in all likelihood, for some reason the SW Scotland-N Ireland pull has been the historically stronger.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zamyatin13 View Post
    The reason why there are no crannogs in the Lake District has always bothered me.
    Both crannogs and brochs suggest to me a certain distrust of the neighbours. (One could say the same of hillforts, though these could hold a lot more people.) So where and when we see crannogs popping up, times were probably relatively tough, as I see it, with competition for scarce resources.

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    Turney et al., Holocene climatic change and past Irish societal response, Journal of Archaeological Science 33 (2006) 34-38 found that in the Bronze and Iron Ages across Ireland periods of increased wetness coincided with the episodes of crannog construction.

    The assumed defensive nature of such sites indicates the defence/protection of limited resources (probably due to reductions in land productivity) that led to a disruption in socio-economic conditions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jean M View Post
    Both crannogs and brochs suggest to me a certain distrust of the neighbours. (One could say the same of hillforts, though these could hold a lot more people.) So where and when we see crannogs popping up, times were probably relatively tough, as I see it, with competition for scarce resources.
    After that statement, I was going to note that Galloway is close to Ireland: when some Plantation settlers left for Ireland in the early 1600s, they used to come back each week on Sundays to go to church! But then you followed up with:
    Turney et al., Holocene climatic change and past Irish societal response, Journal of Archaeological Science 33 (2006) 34-38 found that in the Bronze and Iron Ages across Ireland periods of increased wetness coincided with the episodes of crannog construction.
    So 1) Ireland is close and 2)During wet times in Ireland, people there sought to move to Galloway, but this was not welcome to those already there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jean M View Post
    Turney et al., Holocene climatic change and past Irish societal response, Journal of Archaeological Science 33 (2006) 34-38 found that in the Bronze and Iron Ages across Ireland periods of increased wetness coincided with the episodes of crannog construction.
    I've mused on this recently while watching the increase in flooding in Britain. While Galloway has had it's share, Cumbria seems to be the worst affected of all. It might follow that in previous wetter times the location of Cumbria, coupled with the steep hills unsuitable for crops and sheep (pre-herdwick) meant that it was lightly populated. A few quotes from Wikipedia (sorry) could reinforce this:
    However, securely dateable evidence of Iron Age activity in Cumbria is thin...climate deteriorated to the extent that, in Cumbria, upland areas and marginal areas of cultivation were no longer sustainable...lack of evidence for low-lying settlements...There is sparse evidence for the Late Iron Age and early Romano-British periods
    Last edited by zamyatin13; 10-03-2016 at 07:36 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zamyatin13 View Post
    I've mused on this recently while watching the increase in flooding in Britain. While Galloway has had it's share, Cumbria seems to be the worst affected of all. It might follow that in previous wetter times the location of Cumbria, coupled with the steep hills unsuitable for crops and sheep (pre-herdwick) meant that it was lightly populated.
    Hmmm. So we would expect crannogs. I'm joining you in puzzlement.

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    I was surprised by the Wikipedia quote:
    Quote Originally Posted by zamyatin13 View Post
    However, securely dateable evidence of Iron Age activity in Cumbria is thin...climate deteriorated to the extent that, in Cumbria, upland areas and marginal areas of cultivation were no longer sustainable...lack of evidence for low-lying settlements...There is sparse evidence for the Late Iron Age and early Romano-British periods
    Actually Cumbria has a significant number of hill forts... I myself have stood within the ruins of one of them on Carrock Fell. Most Cumbrian hill forts are ill-suited to long-term habitation, suggesting that there were in fact habitations in the valleys or the lower slopes of the fells, and with enough of a population to build and then make use of the forts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jean M View Post
    Hmmm. So we would expect crannogs. I'm joining you in puzzlement.
    Just guessing but crannogs would generally be built where the water is not too deep for some distance out from the shore so that they provide defense but are still possible to build using modest timber piles. Perhaps these glacial lakes in Cumbria steeply fall to deep water not far from the shore? Or maybe the near-shore part of the lakes in Cumbria are rocky and lack deep silt/mud which I imagine makes driving timbers in hard/impossible. Just a guess because I dont know much about the Cumbrian lakes apart from the fact that they seem to be flooded upland glacially scoured u-shaped valleys to my untrained eye. In some places with crannogs like SW Scotland and Ireland the crannogs seem to be more located on bodies of water in the hollows between rolling lowland boulder clay lowland hills.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saetro View Post
    After that statement, I was going to note that Galloway is close to Ireland: when some Plantation settlers left for Ireland in the early 1600s, they used to come back each week on Sundays to go to church! But then you followed up with:


    So 1) Ireland is close and 2)During wet times in Ireland, people there sought to move to Galloway, but this was not welcome to those already there.
    They are very good as defensive boltholes for chiefs during wars. There was a major reoccupation of crannogs in Ulster during the native Irish's final wars with Elizabeth. There are pictorial maps of battles and attempts to take the crannogs in the late 16th to early 17th century. Many of the loughs were small and not accessed by large rivers which meant the option of bringing naval forces in to take the crannog was problematic.

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