This from BBC News, which details the discovery and subsequent archaeological excavation of two ‘Iron Age round houses’ dating back 2,000 years at Baile Sear, revealed by the erosional effects of a particularly heavy storm back in 2005, on the Hebridean island of North Uist. Other finds include what are thought to be salt pans on the beaches of Brora in Sutherland, and in both cases archaeologists are keen to record as much data as possible before the remains are swept away in subsequent storms.
These two locations form part of a larger project across the whole of Scotland, where similar sites are in danger of disappearing – many sites lie in the paths of violent storms coming in off the Atlantic in the west, and the North Sea over to the east. Low coastlines comprising mostly sand and associated dunes in the west, offer little in the way of resistance to the ravages of weather, which some believe will continue to worsen as local and global climate de-stabilise in unison.
The Council For Scottish Archaeology have instigated an initiative called ‘Adopt A Monument‘, in a bid to focus attention on these and other sites considered vulnerable, as well as providing help and advice to volunteer groups keen on improving the maintenance of and access to sites that may not have high profiles, but are nevertheless integral parts of the archaeology of Scotland as a whole.
The Iron Age in Britain corresponds with the early years of the Roman occupation, and although Scotland was never fully occupied by the imperial armies of Rome, the Caledonian armies in particular took something of a battering at the hands of Gnaeus Julius Agricola, following previous skirmishes which resulted in almost the entire 9th Legion being wiped out in a surprise attack.
However, the Roman army forced the Caledonian army into a set-piece fight at the battle of Mons Graupius in AD 84, and despite being outnumbered, Agricola inflicted a heavy defeat on Caledonian arms that was similar to that inflicted on Boudica and her armies at an unknown location in England, circa AD 60. Although Rome claimed to have quelled resistance in Scotland, the fact that the Hadrian and Antonine walls were constructed, is indicative that a potent threat was still perceived to exist in the far north of the British Isles, and that no further major military incursions were made by Rome into those lands. (TJ)
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