In the Heart of Beyond: Hebridean Neolithic & Bronze Age Population Movements (Mairi MacLean)

The Hebrides are today widely portrayed and perceived as remote and isolated. But was this the case in prehistory? For this month’s UHI Archaeology Institute Research Seminar, Mairi MacLean will show how human and animal populations were distributed across the Hebridean archipelagos over time in in the Neolithic and Bronze Age.

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email: ragnhild.ljosland@uhi.ac.uk

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Mairi MacLean
Mairi MacLean

The Hebrides are widely portrayed and perceived as remote and isolated. Many books, papers, and documentaries refer to them as being ‘On the Edge’ (e.g. Island on the Edge: A Life on Soay by Anne Cholawo, Isles at the Edge of the Sea by Johnny Muir, Island on the Edge of the World: The Story of St Kilda by Charles MacLean) and as isolated or remote. This reputation can colour the way islanders are understood, impacting the way in which prehistoric Hebridean populations are perceived. Through the use of various lab techniques, this project seeks to question whether this reputation for remote insularity in prehistory is deserved. Samples of both human and animal populations were taken and analysed using Radiocarbon dating, Bayesian modelling and Stable Isotopes. This allowed an insight into residency across the Hebridean archipelagos, both geographically and temporally.

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