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Land, stone, trees, identity, ambition: The building blocks of brochs

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalThe Archaeological Journal
Volume173
Issue number1
Early online date25 Nov 2015
DOIs
StatePublished - 18 Dec 2015

Abstract

Brochs are impressive stone roundhouses unique to Iron Age Scotland. This paper introduces a new perspective developed from architectural analysis and drawing on new survey, fieldwork and analogies from anthropology and social history. The study of architectural design and constructional detail exposes fewer competitive elements than previously anticipated. Instead, attempts to emulate, share and communicate identities can be detected. The architectural language of the broch allows complex layers of individual preferences, local and regional traditions, and supra-regional communications to be expressed in a single house design. The proposed ‘productive households’ model moves beyond ideas of competing elites at times of stress, and invites a new debate by expanding a more complex broch concept beyond the Atlantic core.

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