The first UHI Archaeology Institute online research seminar of 2023 takes place next week and will see Martin Carruthers and Scott Timpany casting a fresh eye on Iron Age stalled buildings.
The structures, associated with Iron Age communities in Northern Scotland, have been long known about, but little understood. Seemingly restricted in distribution to Caithness and Orkney they have been questioned as domestic settings.
Originally referred to as WAGs (“little cave”) and largely found in association with broch sites, the speakers will argue that they represent a unique type of structure that, until now, had been dated to between the 5th and 6th centuries AD.
This study presents the first detailed excavation of a stalled building from The Cairns, Orkney, where new dating evidence has demonstrated these were active between the 2nd and 4th centuries AD, considerably earlier than previously thought.
The construction of this building took place after the broch occupancy that had been the focus of the Early Iron Age settlement and is the first stalled building excavated to be directly associated with a small number of other known structures.
Archaeobotanical studies from within the building have demonstrated that domestic activities did take place with six-row hulled barley (Hordeum vulgare var vulgare) the main cereal cultivated.
Arable weeds recovered also provide evidence of how cultivated land was managed, while a depleted woodland resource is signalled by evidence of turf burning for fuel.
The excavation of this stalled building has provided the first chronological setting for these structures, enhanced our understanding of the communities they housed and demonstrated their potential to inform on the challenges posed by everyday life in the Middle Iron Age.
Going your own way? New investigations of Middle Iron Age stalled buildings in Northern Scotland is free and takes place on Friday, January 27, from 4pm until 5pm (GMT).
Please note that this seminar will not be recorded.
- Webinar number: 2370 521 2800
- Webinar password: 87yvJVEpVu3 (87985837 from phones)
- Join by phone: +44-20-3478-5289 United Kingdom Toll
- Access code: 237 052 12800