Continuity or change? A Microscopic Scale Analysis of Monuments and Ritual in Aberdeenshire
Issue: Vol 1 No. 2 (2015)
Journal: Journal of Skyscape Archaeology
General archaeological accounts of Scotland tend to demonstrate broad ideas of the Neolithic transition to farming and the subsequent economic changes in the Bronze Age. Whilst they concentrate on important economic and cultural advancement they tend to lack discussions on cosmological change. This paper looks at one small area in Aberdeenshire to examine four different classes of monument that are found there: long mounds and long cairns; Recumbent Stone Circles; henges and Beaker burial sites. It argues that skyscape archaeology, through the use of archaeoastronomical techniques, can provide clues to cosmological change.
Author: Liz Henty
Anquet Technology, 2005–2008. Anquet Maps v06, Version 6.5.1, Release 1. Ordnance Survey Map Software. http://www.anquet.com/
Armit, I. and B. Finlayson, 1996. “The Transition to Agriculture”. In The Early Prehistory of Scotland, edited by T. Pollard and A. Morrison, 269–290. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Ashmore, P. J., 1996. Neolithic and Bronze Age Scotland. London: B. T. Batsford and Historic Scotland.
Ashmore, P. J., 2001. “Settlement in Scotland during the Second Millennium BC”. In Bronze Age Landscapes: Tradition and Transformation, edited by J. Brück, 1–8. Oxford: Oxbow.
Bailey, G. N. and N. J. Milner, 2002. “Coastal Hunter-gatherers and Social Evolution: Marginal or Central?” Before Farming: The Archaeology of Old World Hunter-Gatherers, 3–4 (1): 1–15. http://dx.doi.org/10.3828/bfarm.2002.3-4.1
Barclay, G. J., 1997. “The Neolithic”. In Scotland: Environment and Archaeology, 8000 BC–1000 AD, edited by K. J. Edwards and I. B. M. Ralston, 127–150. Chichester, UK: John Wiley.
Barclay, G. J., 2004. “The ‘Henge’ and ‘Hengiform’ in Scotland”, in Set in Stone: New Approaches to Neolithic Monuments in Scotland, edited by V. Cummings and A. Pannett, 81–94. Oxford: Oxbow.
Barnatt, J., 1989. Stone Circles of Britain: Taxonomic and Distributional Analyses and a Catalogue of sites in England, Scotland and Wales, Part I. British Archaeological Reports, British Series 215 (i). Oxford: British Archaeological Reports.
Bradley, R., 2005. The Moon and the Bonfire: An Investigation of Three Stone Circles in Aberdeenshire. Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.
Bradley, R. (with A. Clarke, A. Fitzpatrick, H. Lamdin-Whymark, R. McCullagh and A. Sheridan) 2011. Stages and Screens. Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.
Bradley, R. and A. Clarke, 2007. “Excavations at Broomend of Crichie, 2005–7: Interim Report” [online]. Accessed August 2014, http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/archaeology/arch-Broomend-2007.pdf
Burgess, C., 1980. The Age of Stonehenge. London: Dent.
Burl, A., 1979. Rings of Stone: The Prehistoric Stone Circles of Britain and Ireland. London Francis Lincoln.
Burl, A., 2000. The Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Callander, J. G., 1925. “Long Cairns and other Prehistoric Monuments in Aberdeenshire and Banffshire, and a Short Cist at Brucetyon, Alyth, Perthshire”. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 59: 121–122.
Case, H. J., 1977. “The Beaker Culture in Britain and Ireland”. In Beakers in Britain and Europe, edited by R. J. Mercer and L. Barfield, 71–101. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports.
Clarke, D. L., 1970. Beaker Pottery of Great Britain and Ireland, vols. 1–2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Clarke, D. V., T. G. Cowie and A. Foxon, 1985. Symbols of Power at the Time of Stonehenge. Edinburgh: HMSO.
Cockcroft, D., 2012. “Memory, Death and Time in British Prehistory: Round Barrows of the Early Bronze Age” [online]. Accessed August, 2014, https://www.societies.ncl.ac.uk/shspgf/Ed_8/Cockcroft.pdf
Coles, F. R., 1900. “Report on Stone Circles in Kincardineshire (North) and Part of Aberdeenshire, with Measured Plans and Drawings obtained under the Gunning Fellowship”. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries in Scotland 34: 139–198.
Cook, M., 2001. “The Big Picture: Excavations at Forest Road, Kintore, Aberdeenshire”. Past: The Newsletter of the Prehistoric Society 37 [online]. Accessed August 2014, http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prehistoric/past/past37.html
Cook, M. and L. Dunbar, 2008. Rituals, Roundhouses and Romans, vol. 1: Forest Road. Edinburgh: Scottish Trust for Archaeological Research.
Cowie, T. G. and I. A. G. Shepherd, 1997. “The Bronze Age”. In Scotland: Environment and Archaeology, 8000BC – 1000AD edited by K. J. Edwards and I. B. M. Ralston. Chichester, UK: John Wiley.
Curtis, N., 2010. “The Moon, The Bonfire, and The Beaker? Analysing White Inlay From Beaker Pottery in Aberdeenshire”. Past: The Newsletter of the Prehistoric Society 65 [online]. Accessed August, 2014. http://www.prehistoricsociety.org/files/past065.pdf
Curtis, N. and N. Wilkin, 2012. “The Regionality of Beakers and Bodies in the Chalcolithic of North-East Scotland”. In Is there a British Chalcolithic?, edited by M. J. Allen, J. Gardiner and A. Sheridan, 237–256. Prehistoric Society Research Paper 4. Oxford: Oxbow Books.
Curtis, N., N. Wilkin, M. Hutchison, M. Jay, A. Sheridan and M. Wright, 2007. “Radiocarbon Dating Results from the Beakers and Bodies Project”. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland (New Series) 8: 223–224.
Edmonds, M., 1992. “Their Use is Wholly Unknown”. In Vessels for the Ancestors: Essays on the Neolithic of Britain and Ireland in Honour of Audrey Henshall, edited by N. M. Sharples and A. Sheridan, 179–193. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Gannon, A., S. Halliday, J. Sherriff and A. Welfare, 2008. “The Neolithic and Bronze Age Landscape”. In In The Shadow of Bennachie: A Field Archaeology of Donside, Aberdeenshire, 45–78. Edinburgh: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.
Harding, J., B. Johnston and G. Goodrick, 2006. “Neolithic Cosmology and the Monument Complex of Thornborough, North Yorkshire”, Archaeoastronomy 20: 26–51.
Healy, F., 2008. “Causewayed Enclosures and the Early Neolithic: The Chronology and Character of Monument Building and Settlement in Kent, Surrey and Sussex in the Early to Mid-4th Millennium Cal BC” [online]. Accessed August 2014, http://www.kent.gov.uk/publications/environment/serf-paper-neolithic.htm
Henty, L., 2014a. “Review of the 35th Annual Conference of the Theoretical Archaeology Group, TAG 2013”. Papers from the Institute of Archaeology 24: Art. 2 (online edition). http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/pia.453
Henty, L., 2014b. “The Archaeoastronomy of Tomnaverie Recumbent Stone Circle: A Comparison of Methodologies”. Papers from the Institute of Archaeology 24: Art. 15 (online edition). http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/pia.464
Henty, L., 2015. “A Voyage Round the Recumbent Stone Circles of North-East Scotland”. In SEAC 2011 Stars and Stones: Voyages in Archaeoastronomy and Cultural Astronomy. British Archaeological Reports, International Series 2720. Oxford: Archaeopress.
Hodder, I., 1990. The Domestication of Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Jacobs UK, 2007. Aberdeen West Peripheral Route: Appendix A28.1 – Cultural Heritage Baseline Study [online]. Accessed August 2014, http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/system/files/documents/tsc-basic-pages/A28.1%20-%20Cultural%20Heritage%20Baseline.pdf
Johnston, R., 2001. “Breaking New Ground: Land Tenure and Fieldstone Clearance during the Bronze Age”. In Bronze Age Landscapes: Tradition and Transformation, edited by J. Brück, 99–109. Oxford: Oxbow.
Kinnes, I., 1985. “Circumstance not Context: the Neolithic of Scotland as Seen from the Outside”. Proceedings of the Society for the Antiquaries of Scotland 115: 15–57.
Kosowsky, M., 2012. HeyWhatsThat. Horizon profiling software [online]. Accessed August, 2014. http://www.heywhatsthat.com/
Lanting, J. N. and J. D. van der Waals, 1972. “British Beakers as seen from the Continent”. Helenium 12: 20–46.
Lewis, A. L., 1900. “The Stone Circles of Scotland”. The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, 30: 56–73. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2842618
Noble, G., 2006. Neolithic Scotland, Timber, Stone, Earth and Fire, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
“Old” Statistical Account of Scotland, The, 1791–1799. [online]. http://edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/index.html
Parker Pearson, M., 2009. “The Earlier Bronze Age”. In The Archaeology of Britain: An Introduction from Earliest Times to the Twenty-First Century, edited by J. Hunter and I. Ralston, 103–125. Revised ed. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
Pimenta, F., 2015. “Astronomy and Navigation” in Handbook of Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy, edited by C. L. N. Ruggles, 43. New York: Springer.
RCAHMS, 2014a. Site Record. [online] Accessed August 2014, http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/18588/details/midmill/
RCAHMS, 2014b. Site Record [online] Accessed August 2014, http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/search/?keyword=Borrowstone&submit=search
Richards, C., 2004. “Rethinking the Great Stone Circles of Northwest Britain”. In Papers and Pictures in Honour of Daphne Home Lorrimer MBE [online]. Accessed August 2014. http://www.orkneyjar.com/archaeology/dhl/papers/cr/index.html
Richards, C. (ed.), 2013. Building the Great Stone Circles of the North. Oxford: Oxbow Books.
Ritchie, J., 1920. “The Stone Circle at Broomend of Crichie, Aberdeenshire”. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 53: 154–172.
Ruggles, C. L. N., 1984. “A New Study of the Aberdeenshire Recumbent Stone Circles, 1: Site Data”. Archaeoastronomy (Supplement to the Journal for the History of Astronomy), 6: S55–S79.
Ruggles, C. L. N., 1996. “New Approaches to the Investigation of Astronomical Symbolism within the Ritual Landscapes of the Prehistoric British Isles”. In Astronomical Traditions in Past Cultures: Proceedings of the First Annual General Meeting of the European Society for Astronomy in Culture (SEAC), Smolyan, 31 August–2 September 1993, edited by V. Koleva and D. Kolev, 1–13. Sofia: Institute of Astronomy, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, National Astronomical Observatory Rozhen.
Ruggles, C. L. N., 1999. Astronomy in Prehistoric Britain and Ireland. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Ruggles, C. L. N., 2015. “Recumbent Stone Circles”. In Handbook of Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy, edited by C. L. N. Ruggles, 1277–1286. New York: Springer. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6141-8_122
Ruggles, C. L. N. and H. A. W. Burl, 1985. “A New Study of the Aberdeenshire Recumbent Stone Circles, 2: Interpretation”. Archaeoastronomy (Supplement to the Journal for the History of Astronomy) 8: S25–S60.
Scarre, C., 2007. “Changing Places: Monuments and the Neolithic Transition in Western France”. In Going Over: The Mesolithic-Neolithic Transition in North-West Europe, edited by A. Whittle and V. Cummings, 243–261. Oxford: Oxford University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197264140.003.0013
Shepherd, I. A. G., 1986. Powerful Pots: Beakers in North-east Prehistory. Aberdeen: Anthropological Museum, University of Aberdeen.
Shepherd, A. N., 1989. “A Note on the orientation of Beaker Burials in North-East Scotland”. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 119: 79–80.
Shepherd, A. N., 2012. “Stepping Out Together: Men, Women and their Beakers in Time and Space”. In Is there a British Chalcolithic? People, Place and Polity in the later Third Millennium, edited by M. J. Allen, J. Gardiner and A. Sheridan, 257–280. Oxford: Oxbow Books.
Sheridan, A., 2007a. “Dating the Scottish Bronze Age: ‘There is Clearly Much that the Material can Still Tell Us’”. In Beyond Stonehenge: Essays on the Bronze Age in Honour of Colin Burgess, edited by C. Burgess, P. Topping and F. Lynch, 162–185. Oxford: Oxbow Books.
Sheridan, A., 2007b. “Scottish Beaker Dates: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. In Stonehenge to the Baltic: Living with Cultural Diversity in the Third Millennium BC, edited by Mats Larsson and Mike Parker Pearson, British Archaeological Reports S1692: 91–123. Oxford: Archaeopress.
Sheridan, A., 2008. “Towards a Fuller, more Nuanced Narrative of Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age Britain 2500–1500 BC”. Bronze Age Review 1: 57–78.
Sheridan, A. N., 2010. “The Neolithisation of Britain and Ireland: The ‘Big Picture’”. In Landscapes in Transition, edited by B. Finlayson and G. Warren, 89–105. Oxford: Oxbow Books.
Silva, F., 2014. “‘A Tomb with a View’: New Methods for Bridging the Gap Between Land and Sky in Megalithic Archaeology”. Advances in Archaeological Practice: A Journal of the Society for American Archaeology 1 (2): 24–37. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/002182861204300204
Silva, F. and F. Pimenta, 2012. “The Crossover of the Sun and the Moon”. Journal for the History of Astronomy 43 (2): 191–208.
Sims, L., 2009. “Entering, and Returning from, the Underworld: Reconstituting Silbury Hill by Combining a Quantified Landscape Phenomenology with Archaeoastronomy”, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (New Series) 15: 386–408. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9655.2009.01559.x
Telford, D., 2002. “The Mesolithic Inheritance: Contrasting Neolithic Monumentality in Eastern and Western Scotland”. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 68: 289–315. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0079497X00001547
Thom, A., 1971. Megalithic Lunar Observatories. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Thomas, H. L., 1971. “Review of D. L. Clarke, Beaker Pottery of Great Britain and Ireland, Vols. 1–2”. American Anthropologist (New Series) 73 (6): 1417–1419. http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/aa.1971.73.6.02a00980
Thomas, J., 1991. Rethinking the Neolithic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Thomas, J., 1999. Understanding the Neolithic. London: Routledge.
Thomas, J., 2004. “Current Debates on the Mesolithic-Neolithic Transition in Britain and Ireland”. Documenta Praehistorica 31: 113–130.
Tilley, C., 2007. “The Neolithic Sensory Revolution: Monumentality and the Experience of Landscape”. In Going Over: The Mesolithic-Neolithic Transition in North-West Europe, edited by A. Whittle and V. Cummings, 329–345. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Tipping, R., 2008. “Environmental History”. In In The Shadow of Bennachie: A Field Archaeology of Donside, Aberdeenshire, 25–44. Edinburgh: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.
Warren, G., 2007. “Mesolithic Myths”. In Going Over: The Mesolithic-Neolithic Transition in North-West Europe, edited by A. Whittle and V. Cummings, 311–328. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Welfare, A., 2008. “The Antiquarian Tradition”. In In The Shadow of Bennachie: A Field Archaeology of Donside, Aberdeenshire, 7–16. Edinburgh: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and Society of Antiquaries of Scotland / Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in association with RCAHMS.
Welfare, A., 2011. Great Crowns of Stone: The Recumbent Stone Circles of Scotland. Edinburgh: The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.
Whittle, A., A. Bayliss and F. Healy, 2008. “The Timing and Tempo of Change: Examples from the Fourth Millennium cal. BC in Southern England”. Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 18 (1): 65–70.
Woodham, A. A., 1975. “Kintore, Midmill, Long Cairn”. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland (Old Series): 6. Online edition accessed August 2014: http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archiveDS/archiveDownload?t=arch-753-1/dissemination/pdf/1970/1975.pdf