A powerful place in Pictland: interdisciplinary perspectives on a power centre of the 4th to 6th centuries AD

Campbell, E. , Hamilton, D. , Taylor, S. , Gondek, M., Noble, G. and Evans, N. (2020) A powerful place in Pictland: interdisciplinary perspectives on a power centre of the 4th to 6th centuries AD. Medieval Archaeology, 63(1), pp. 56-94. (doi: 10.1080/00766097.2019.1588529)

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Our understanding of the nature of late and post-Roman central places of northern Britain has been hindered by the lack of historical sources and the limited scale of archaeological investigation. New work at Rhynie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland (NJ 49749 26345), has begun to redress this through extensive excavation and landscape survey. This has revealed a Pictish central place of the 4th to 6th centuries ad that has European connections through material culture, iconography and site character. In addition to reviewing the place-name and historical context, this article outlines preliminary reflections on five seasons of excavation and survey in the Rhynie landscape. The article also provides a detailed consideration of chronology, including radiocarbon dating and Bayesian statistical analysis. The results reveal the multi-faceted nature of a major, non-hillfort elite complex of Pictland that comprised a high-status residence with cult dimensions, a major centre for production and exchange, and a contemporary cemetery. A series of sculptured stones stood in association with the settlement and cemetery and the iconography of the stones, along with the wider archaeological evidence, provides a rich dataset for a renewed consideration of the central places of early medieval northern Britain with broader implications for the nature of power and rulership in late and post-Roman Europe.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Fieldwork at Rhynie has been funded by the University of Aberdeen Development Trust, the British Academy, Historic Environment Scotland, the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland and Aberdeenshire Council Archaeology Service. The writing of this article was also supported by a Leverhulme Trust Research Leadership Award (RL-2016-069).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Taylor, Dr Simon and Hamilton, Professor Derek and Campbell, Dr Ewan
Authors: Campbell, E., Hamilton, D., Taylor, S., Gondek, M., Noble, G., and Evans, N.
Subjects:C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > Archaeology
College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > Celtic and Gaelic
College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Medieval Archaeology
Journal Abbr.:Med Arch
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1745-817X
Published Online:18 June 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Society for Medieval Archaeology
First Published:First published in Medieval Archaeology 63(1):56-94
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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