| 9 September 2011
Early link between Picts & Romans found in Scotland
A team of archaeologists, known as the Strathern Environs and Royal Forteviot (SERF) project, have uncovered findings which could re-write early Scottish history. The team comprises archaeologists and students from Glasgow, Aberdeen and Chester Universities, as well as other volunteers from Scotland, Europe and North America. The site is located at Dunning, in Perthshire, and the team involved has been together for some time, with quite a few discoveries before this one, including an early Bronze Age burial and a Pictish royal centre. Within the 4000-year-old grave the archaeologists found a stunning bronze dagger and beautifully preserved flowers thought to be the earliest floral tribute ever discovered in the UK. This find, however, pushes all others into the shadows.
It is of an Iron Age broch, the favoured residence of the Roman elite during their occupation of the area, filled with evidence of early contact between the Picts and Romans. It is situated in a commanding position, on the top of a hill, and had a massive 5 metre thick outer drystone defensive wall. It would have dominated the surrounding countryside, with a full panoramic view. At some stage the broch weas destroyed by fire and the site was subsequently occupied by a Pictish warlord as there is evidence of a pallisaded fortress being built directly over the remains of the broch and a wealth of high grade artifacts has been found, both Roman and native.
"It's not unreasonable to see this as a seat of a Celtic chieftain, who collected a wide range of luxury objects from the Roman world perhaps through trading with the Romans or possibly even serving in the Roman army," Stephen Driscoll, professor of historical archaeology at Glasgow University and director of the SERF project, said. "The artefacts are of particular interest as they date to the time of the first contact with the Roman world and offer numerous clues to how the Picts might have begun their interactions with the Roman Empire. This is the best example of an Iron Age Roman site being reoccupied by the Picts. We have long suspected that this happened, but now we can examine the Picts' relationships with the Romans in much more detail," Dr. Driscoll added.
Cabinet Minister for Culture & External Affairs for the Scottish Government, Fiona Hyslop, is quoted as saying "It has potentially far-reaching implications for how we view our history. To be able to reveal such an exceptional site that holds impressive architecture, artifacts and has been used and reused over generations to give us new understanding of Celts, Picts and Romans is outstanding and I would like to congratulate the team for their hard work and dedication".
Edited from BBC News, The Courier (31 August 2011)
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