Neil Ackerman


Project Title: Scotland’s earliest built environment: halls, houses and big houses – funded by The Carnegie Trust 

The development of agriculture during the Neolithic period in Scotland (3800-2400 BC) had a huge impact on society and new types of structures are constructed for the first time. The range of architecture from this period in Scotland is unique within Europe, however previous Scottish studies have had a focus on regional and monumental architecture. This research will produce the first detailed study of settlement architecture across Scotland that will revolutionise how the Neolithic is understood not only in Scotland but internationally. 

Statistical analysis of radiocarbon dates will produce the first precise chronology for Neolithic settlement architecture in Scotland, clarifying what types of sites were being built and used both regionally and more broadly. Building materials will also be examined to understand the construction methods, uses and social practices around the buildings. 

In carrying this research out the Scottish Neolithic will be examined in a new light, providing a detailed understanding of the use and social practices around settlement architecture from the period and of Neolithic society more broadly.

The research will be disseminated in such a way that it feeds directly into the local government services that provide the legal protection and management of archaeology across Scotland.

UHI PhD student Neil Ackerman