The Edinburgh Castle blog has reflected on the evolution of the guidebooks to the castle and it made me realise that there is little here so far on guidebooks from Scotland. One of the few was the foldout guide to the Antonine Wall (a companion to a similar one for Hadrian’s Wall).
This ‘blue’ guide is the eleventh edition (1977) of the third edition (1950) written by the prehistorian V. Gordon Childe. The guide was printed in Edinburgh by HMSO (30p) and it follows the standard blue format for sites ‘held in trust for the nation by the Secretary of State for Scotland and cared for on his behalf by the Department of the Environment’. The subtitle, used since 1950 was Ancient dwellings at Skara Brae.
The ‘Preparatory note’ informs us, ‘This guide is intended to simplify a visit to Skara Brae’.
The guide is divided into two separate sections, history and description. The history considers:
- Discovery and excavation of the site
- The ‘history’ of the village [and note the use of ‘history’]
- General character of the ruins
There is a foldout-plan along with sections through the settlement.
The Department of the Environment (DOE) also published an interim report, The Neolithic Village at Skara Brae, Orkney. 1972-73 Excavations (Edinburgh: HMSO) by D.V. Clarke. The landscape format (and size) is identical to the DOE guide to the Saxon Shore.