James, Heather Frances
Medieval rural settlement: a study of Mid-Argyll, Scotland.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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This thesis describes an approach to the study of medieval rural settlement in Mid-Argyll which involved a combination of archaeological survey and historic geography. The techniques used included archaeological fieldwork, excavation, geophysical survey, and the consultation of historic maps, documentary evidence and aerial photographs. The area covered in this thesis includes the parishes of Kilmartin, Kilmichael Glassary and North Knapdale in Mid-Argyll, Scotland.
Initial wide ranging fieldwork and consideration of the historical context was followed by more detailed investigations which are presented as four case studies, at Bàrr Mór, Glennan, Carnasserie and North Knapdale. This work has provided a greater understanding of the chronology, architecture, social organisation, economy and material culture of medieval rural settlement in Mid-Argyll.
The thesis concludes that the current scarcity of the physical remains of medieval settlement may be a result of a combination of the use of perishable materials, subsequent cultivation of settlement sites, deliberate demolition and re-use of structures and the lack of dating material. Despite this, there is a potential for understanding how people utilised and moved through the landscape, through further examination of the physical remains of shielings, pre-Improvement farmsteads, castles as well as utilising other disciplines such as palynology and Gaelic literary sources.
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