A Powerful Place Of Pictland: Interdisciplinary Perspectives On A Power Centre of the 4th to 6th Centuries AD

Gordon Noble* (Corresponding Author), Meggen Gondek, Ewan Campbell, Nicholas Evans, Derek Hamilton, Simon Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
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Our understanding of the nature of late and post-Roman central places of northern Britain has been hindered by the lack of historical sources and the limited scale of archaeological investigation. New work at Rhynie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, has begun to redress this through extensive excavation and landscape survey that has revealed a Pictish central place of the 4th to 6th centuries AD that has European connections through material culture, iconography and site character. In addition to reviewing the place-name and historical context, this article outlines preliminary reflections on five seasons of excavation and survey in the Rhynie landscape. The article also provides a detailed consideration of chronology, including radiocarbon dating and Bayesian statistical analysis. The results reveal the multi-faceted nature of a major non-hillfort elite complex of Pictland that comprised a high-status residence with cult dimensions, a major centre for production and exchange, and a contemporary cemetery. A series of sculptured stones stood in association with the settlement and cemetery and the iconography of the stones along with the wider archaeological evidence provides a rich dataset for a renewed consideration of the central places of early medieval northern Britain with wider implications for the nature of power and rulership in Late and post-Roman Europe.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-94
Number of pages40
JournalMedieval Archaeology
Issue number1
Early online date18 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

Many thanks to the students, staff and volunteers who have made Rhynie 2011–17 possible and to Rhynie Woman who have brought so much to the community element of the project. Fieldwork at Rhynie has been funded by the University of Aberdeen Development Trust, British Academy, Historic Environment Scotland, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland and Aberdeenshire Council Archaeology Service. The writing of this article was also supported by a Leverhulme Trust Research Leadership Award (RL-2016-069).


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