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Wooden homes dominated the landscape and the people buried their dead in graves rather than in stone cairns. By the Late Bronze Age BCE artisans in metalworking were producing beautiful works such as the armlets, amulets, swords and dirks which are so commonly pictured in illustrations and romances of ancient Scotland.

Trade flourished during this time, particularly with Scandinavia, Ireland known as Hibernia , and the tribes to the south in what the Romans would call " Britannia ". Who, exactly, the Celts were has been debated for centuries, but it is thought that they emerged from the Hallstatt and La Tene culture of central Europe, shared a common language, and were skilled in iron working. Professor Sharron Gunn writes,.

Most people recognise the sinuous curves on shields, mirrors and swords which are known to have been crafted by Celtic craftsmen. But new research has indicated that the Celtic languages and, in particular, Gaelic may have originated in Iberia.

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Celtic Guide, 9. The first known use of the word "Celts" in describing these people comes from the Greek geographer Hecateus of Miletus in BCE who claimed the people of the region around present-day Marseille were known as "Keltoi". The Celts steadily colonized Ireland and then moved on to Scotland. That their migration was not always a peaceful one is attested to by sites such as Traprain Law , where evidence suggests a battle in which the fortification of wood and stone was burned at such great heat that the stones became fused together. Wooden homes and villages now became vulnerable to the torches of the invaders and communities banded together behind palisades of stone which, in time, became forts.

The Celts introduced iron working to Scotland and so brought the Iron Age which saw the passing of bronze as the metal of choice. Iron pots, cups, tools, and weapons have been found in abundance from this period and, many times, apparently buried in haste, perhaps to preserve them from an attack on the village. Based upon writings from around the 4th century BCE, it appears the Celts called themselves "Cruithne" the painted ones , as they regularly dyed their faces and bodies. In the Brythonic dialect of Celtic, they called themselves "Pruithne" which, in time, became "Breatan" and then " Briton ".

The Romans, when they invaded the north of Britain many years later, called the natives they encountered there "Picti" painted , and so differentiated the people who would become known as Picts from the Britons.

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The Celts established their own customs and culture throughout Scotland instituting the clan headed by a single chieftain as the family unit and a class structure which placed warriors at the top, priests, bards and merchants in the middle, and artisans, farmers, and slaves at the bottom. This new class structure, and the conflict between the clans over land, produced new developments in the construction of homes and villages. The Crannog was a wooden structure built out on a man-made island in a lake and connected to the shore by a narrow, and easily defensible, causeway.

Many of the peninsulas which may be seen today in the lochs of Scotland were once Crannogs and can be identified by the careful rock construction of the causeways. Brochs were towers constructed of stone the most famous of which is Mousa Broch in Shetland which could rise to a height of forty feet 12 metres.

Scotland's tallest peak

They were built in the same way as Neolithic homes through dry stone construction in a sweeping circular design with hollow walls and a main staircase which wound from the ground floor up to the higher levels. Brochs did not have windows and had only one entrance which, in many cases, appears to have been guarded as there is often a small room located just inside the entrance which suggests this purpose. The ceilings seemed to have been built low in order to prevent a visitor from assuming full height, forcing him into a position of humility.

The Duns were simply stone forts erected on hillsides, while Souterrains were underground homes reached by stone steps in the earth. Souterrains were generally unstable and most of them collapsed and were abandoned. The Wheelhouse so called because of their wheel-shape design is also known as an Aisled Roundhouse, and there is much debate as to whether they were individual homes or some sort of temple because of the elaborate design and the seemingly small living space.

The most famous of these is the Grimsay Wheelhouse in Uists. Made of stone and often built into or on a hillside, the Wheelhouse, like the Broch, had only one entrance and seemed to be built with defence as a priority even though, as many scholars have pointed out over the years, an enemy could easily have taken any of these by siege or smoke. These buildings were the principal domiciles of the people upon the coming of Rome. After establishing fortifications, he then invaded northern Scotland in 83 CE and was met by the Pictish leader Calgacus in battle at Mons Graupius.

Following the rule of mac Gabrain, the kingdom was overrun by Viking raids and intermarriage created a population of mixed Irish, Pictish, and Viking stock. The northern region of Scotland continued to be ruled by the Picts under a series of kings who retained their autonomy. That there was an historical figure known as Kenneth MacAlpin is certain, but a great many embellishments have been made to his story over the centuries so that, today, he is often considered half-legendary. Ninian's work was later completed by St. Columba in c. Among these feats was defeating a monster who rose from the River Ness to eat the local inhabitants; the first written mention of the creature later known as the Loch Ness Monster.

With the rise of Christianity came an increase in literacy among the clergy and the first written records of the history of Scotland began to emerge. Editorial Review This Article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication.

Mark, J. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Mark, Joshua J.


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Last modified October 17, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 17 Oct Written by Joshua J. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms.

We are a non-profit organization. Our mission is to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. Please support Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation. Thank you! Mark published on 17 October Remove Ads Advertisement. The use of stone in building burial places culminated in the construction of sites where giant monoliths were raised, suggesting a ritual use and an astronomical alignment. Bibliography Brochs of Scotland. Interpolations in Bede 's Ecclesiastical history and other ancie.

The history of Scotland

Watson, Ross, D. Lomond Pocket Book of Scottish History. Lomond Books, About the Author Joshua J.


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  5. Indeed, footprints of the past are to be found almost everywhere. The shapes of fields may reveal the brief presence of the Romans or the labours of medieval peasants; while great heaps of abandoned spoil or the remains of gargantuan holes in the ground mark the rapid decline of heavy industry in the recent past. These evocative spaces provide unique evidence for the way this land and its wealth of resources has been lived in, worked on, ruined, abandoned, restored and celebrated — offering valuable clues that bring the past to life far more effectively than any written history.

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