In northeast Scotland, near Inverness, the area around the site at Culduthel has been settled from at least the Neolithic Age onwards, and interestingly, also contains finds of Mesolithic microliths that suggest earlier activity.
When a new road and housing development-initiated developer-led archaeology, no one could have foreseen the scale and importance of the site. What started as the study of a simple crop mark in 2005 soon gave way to evidence, and a resulting dig, of an extensive Iron Age settlement.
In their new book Culduthel: An Iron Age Craftworking Centre in North-East Scotland, authors Candy Hatherley and Ross Murray combine illustrated catalogs of finds with expert analyses to offer insight into the craftwork and trade of Iron Age communities in northeast Scotland.
The authors examined artifact evidence, which included tools, manufacturing waste, and finished items to reveal a well-preserved craft production center with large-scale roundhouses and multiple workshops containing iron smelting furnaces, as well as glass- and bronze-working hearths.
According to the authors, archaeological analysis of the site shows a wide trade network, including contact between Scotland and Rome in the early first millennium AD. It also shows the role crafting plays in the local community and examines the early procurement of raw materials and the exchange of utilitarian and exotic objects.
This Iron Age community engaged in the developed and sustained production of iron, bronze, and glass objects between the late first millennium BC and the early first millennium AD. The site itself shows occupation from the second millennium BC to the second millennium AD. This book is the story of that journey.
Dr. Candy Hatherley is an archaeologist and project manager at Headland Archaeology. Ross Murray is a project manager at AOC Archaeology Group.