Oxford Archaeological Guide: Scotland

OUP Scotland
(1998)

Scotland has a wealth of archaeological sites to explore and Anna and Graham Ritchie offered their selection in their Scotland (1998), one of the Oxford Archaeological Guides. (My paperback copy was priced as £10.99, although on Amazon the same volume is £30.60.)

The volume is arranged by region, rather than by period. Within the sections the order is largely alphabetical.

The order is not always clear. Take for example the broch at Dun Beag (in the care of Historic Scotland) in Bracadale on Skye: it appears in ‘Highland South’ within a section on Skye (7 sites).

And surprisingly the important display of carved stones at Portmahomack on Cromarty barely gets a mention (p. 156) whereas the (impressive) cross-slab at Nigg gets a full entry. However the gem of a collection at Whithorn (Historic Scotland) gets a well deserved section.

The Roman frontier of the Antonine Wall has a separate section although there are better guides. The remains at Rough Castle are particularly striking.

The guide is useful if the site you want to see is included. But the coverage is uneven and the arrangement does not always make it easy to group sites together.

Author: David Gill

David Gill is Honorary Research Fellow at UEA; Professor of Archaeological Heritage.

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