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In Search of Scotland by Gordon Menzies

By Gordon Menzies

Heritage is the place we come from, historical past is who we're. From the Stone Age to the current, this ebook charts the effect of Celts, Picts, Romans, Irish, Vikings, and English, of battles, wars and empire. the good and the great determine prominently, after all, however the tale of Scotland can also be approximately usual humans, who lived and enjoyed, labored and died, regularly leaving no list in any respect. lower than the management of Gordon Menzies, the BBC sequence manufacturer, Scotland's best historians have mixed to supply a piece that's revealing and authoritative. strong humans determine prominently within the publication: St. Columba, Queen Margaret, David I, Wallace, Bruce, James III, James IV, James V, John Knox, the Covenanters, the Jacobites, the philosophers and scientists of the Enlightenment, the Victorian marketers, and the power-brokers of the 20 th century. yet usual everyone is definitely very important to the tale: squaddies, farmers, ship-builders, metalworkers, and lots of others.Accompanied all through by means of astonishing full-color photos, illustrations, work, and maps, the book's trenchant perspectives and evocative descriptions will front each person with an curiosity in Scotland and the Scots.

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Because it was a kingdom held together by sea, Dál Riata carried out its raiding by ship as well as by land and its kings ranged far afield, from the Isle of Man to Orkney, as well as across into Manaw and back into the north of Ireland. The sea was not only a road for warriors. Excavations at Dunadd and Dunollie have produced evidence of glass, pottery and dyes, imported by sea from south-western France and even the Mediterranean. The men of Dál Riata were Christians; Fergus’ son, Domangart, had stood by St Patrick’s deathbed as a child and may have become a monk himself when he gave up the kingship in 534.

Their bones show that these were muscular people, used to hard work, and many had suffered from spinal problems caused by heavy labour. Life expectancy was low, with high child mortality and only a small minority reaching fifty years of age. Yet this is not so very different from the population structure of rural Scotland a couple of centuries ago. The tomb seems to have held a cross-section of the community and certainly not a privileged élite, although the same was probably not true of the more elaborate Maes Howe.

While broch towers dominated much of the north and west, the lochs of mainland Scotland were dotted with no less impressive settlements known as crannogs. These artificial timber islets were laboriously constructed in the shallows of inland lochs, and joined to the shore by timber gangways. Crannogs were crowned by imposing timber roundhouses and seem to represent the defended farmhouses of prosperous landholding families. The profusion of substantial roundhouses across the landscapes of Scotland suggests a period of stability in land tenure and the farming economy more generally.

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