Call For Papers REMINDER

A reminder that the call for papers for ‘Rural Settlement relating buildings, landscape, and people in the European Iron Age’ closes at the end of this month on the 28th February. You can find out more and download the form from this post.


Next Lecture: Early Medieval Iona

The next lecture in the 2016 – 2017 seminar series will be on the 7th March. 

Ewan Campbell / Adrian Maldonado: Rethinking the archaeology of early medieval Iona: reassessment and recent work

The next FMSG seminar will take place on Tuesday 7th March at 18.00 in Room 202, Celtic & Gaelic, 3 University Gardens, Glasgow.

Excavating Roundhouses: Best Practice guidance launched


Typical roundhouse in plan, by T Romankiewicz. Taken from the “Excavating Prehistoric Roundhouses
Guidance on good practice and effective outcome for future research”

If you were at the FMSG lecture on  Tuesday 10 January, then you will have been lucky enough to hear about the launch of a new best practice document for excavating roundhouses in Aberdeenshire. If you weren’t there, then the following might be of interest to you!

Aberdeenshire is one of Scotland’s richest prehistoric roundhouse regions. Data from research and rescue excavations have formed the basis of the Building (Ancient) Lives project at the School of History, Classics and Archaeology. As a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow Dr Tanja Romankiewicz studies prehistoric and early medieval buildings to inspire modern sustainable architecture.

Together with Bruce Mann of Aberdeenshire Council’s Archaeology Service, Dr Romankiewicz has now developed a guidance document to promote best practice for the excavation and analysis of roundhouses in Aberdeenshire. The document was developed to inform the Council’s archaeological planning conditions and to provide best-practice recommendations for Local Authorities, contractors and community groups. It aims to maximise data collection for the Council’s Historic Environment Record and to inform future research while bringing in our experience of what can realistically be achieved on site. The authors hope to have distilled their knowledge and experience into a tangible format easily shared with anyone, whether starting their professional career or being part of a local community group digging their first roundhouse. For the experienced excavator it is intended as a quick refresher, but also to re-inspire about what can be gained from investigating even the most ephemeral remains.

The document is available on the project website , and intended as a dynamic tool: it can and should be expanded and built upon to include roundhouse evidence throughout the rest of the country.  The guidance has been circulated to local councils, industry members, academics and community groups to consider it as a form of best practice whenever possible, and to distribute it to their members, partners, contractors and project participants.

The project can also be followed on Twitter: @BldAncientLives

Next Lecture: A triple bill!

The next lecture in the 2016 – 2017 seminar series will be on the 10th January. There will be three presentations:

Paul Murtagh: Dún Mhurchaidh: A Non-Monumental Atlantic Iron Age Site from Ardnamurchan

Matt Ginnever: Brechin roundhouse

Andy Heald / Ross Murray: Aberlady

As usual, the lectures will be at 6:00pm in the Teviot Lecture Theatre in the Archaeology Department, School of History, Classics and Archaeology, Edinburgh.

Call for Papers: Rural Settlement relating buildings, landscape, and people in the European Iron Age

Dear colleagues, you are cordially invited to the  Internationale Tagung 19-21 June, 2017 in Edinburgh jointly organised by the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Eisenzeit, the University of Edinburgh and the First Millennia Studies Group.

We are seeking contributions on Rural Settlement relating buildings, landscape, and  eople in the European Iron Age. Please send your proposals using the pdf form in this document here (edinburgh_call_for_papers_engl) to the workshop email address by 28 February 2017. 

The organisers are Holger Wendling, Tanja Romankiewicz, Manuel Fernández-Götz, Dave Cowley, Fraser Hunter, Rod McCullagh

The farm – a unit of land, its buildings and inhabitants – was the basic element of Iron Age
settlement across Europe, represented by a range of excavated evidence and survey data. Their disposition, form and organisation, and how this varied through time and geographically are central to our understanding of social, economic and cultural interactions. From the individual and household to broader demographic units, this basic rural settlement unit was a constant, a familiar touchpoint within wider rural landscape organisation.

Settlements vary across Iron Age Europe, in unit size and density, in settlement distribution and landscape management, but also in terms of preservation. The rich Scottish evidence, with some exceptional preservation, offers valuable comparison to continental or Scandinavian material. The longer time-frames of northern Iron Ages allow tracing long-term developments.

To exploit this, two well-established Iron Age seminar groups have come together with the settlement archaeologists at the University of Edinburgh to offer this three-day workshop. This will connect evidence and views from across Europe to inform dialogue on common themes, regional variation and the roles of rural settlements in Iron Age societies. A holistic approach is encouraged that assimilates individual buildings into the changing textures of wider landscapes, patterns of land holding, density and permanency of settlement and the variability of land use strategies.

Contributions to all aspects of Iron Age rural settlement studies are welcome, ranging from architectural to landscape investigations. Comparative and wider geographical, methodological and theoretical studies are particularly encouraged, alongside analyses of regional or site-specific case studies. Time will be set aside for discussion to evaluate new results in wider contexts and explore the potential for multi-disciplinary, supra-regional strategies.

Topics of particular interest include:

  • How do our investigations into Iron Age domestic units influence our interpretations of rural settlements and their social, economic and cultural interactions – and what have new investigations to offer in reviewing existing household and settlement interpretations?
  • How enduring were rural settlement patterns and how permanently or periodically settled were particular locations?
  • How are different textures of landscape (upland/lowland; wetland/dryland; inland/coastal) assimilated in land use and settlement strategies?

A day-long field trip on Sunday, 18 June 2017, to sites in southern Scotland will allow participants to explore a particular strength of the Scottish archaeological record – the preservation as earthworks of Iron Age settlement and roundhouse sites.

Offers of oral presentations and posters are welcome – a title and abstract of no more than 2,000 characters (including spaces) should be sent to by 28 February 2017, using the form available here (edinburgh_call_for_papers_engl). In addition to the overall theme, the workshop will offer some opportunities to present results on recent research on the European Iron Age, regardless of topic. The scientific panel shall approve offers of papers and posters. Oral presentations should not exceed 20 minutes. Posters should be no more than one A1 paper size (594 x 841 mm).

Although the main language of the workshop will be English, contributions in German and French are welcome.

Next Lectures: Iron Age Culduthel and Ferrous Slag analysis

The next lecture in the 2016 – 2017 seminar series will be on the 6th December. There will be two presentations:

Candy Hatherley: An Iron Age metal-working community at Culduthel, Inverness – Conclusions

Scott Stetkiewicz: Ferrous slag analysis in Scotland and beyond

As usual, the lectures will be at 6:00pm in the Teviot Lecture Theatre in the Archaeology Department, School of History, Classics and Archaeology, Edinburgh.

Next lecture: Warrior Graves? Rethinking the weapon burial rite

The next lecture in the 2016 – 2017 seminar series will be on the 1st November. The ‘Warrior Graves? Rethinking the weapon burial rite in Viking Britain and Ireland‘ will be presented by Stephen Harrison of the University of Glasgow.

As usual, the lectures will be at 6:0pm in the Meadows Lecture Theatre in the Archaeology Department, School of History, Classics and Archaeology, Edinburgh.