Royal and Lordly Residence in Scotland c 1050 to c 1250: an Historiographical Review and Critical Revision



Oram R (2008) Royal and Lordly Residence in Scotland c 1050 to c 1250: an Historiographical Review and Critical Revision. The Antiquaries Journal, 88, pp. 165-189.;

Academic study of eleventh to thirteenth century high status residence in Scotland has been largely bypassed by the English debates over origin, function and symbolism. Archaeologists have also been slow to engage with three decades of historical revision of traditional socio-economic, cultural and political models upon which their interpretations of royal and lordly residence have drawn. Scottish castle-studies of the pre-1250 era continue to be framed by a ‘military architecture’ historiographical tradition and a view of the castle as an alien artefact imposed on the land by foreign adventurers and a ‘modernising’ monarchy and native Gaelic nobility. Knowledge and understanding of pre-twelfth century native high status sites is rudimentary and derived primarily from often inappropriate analogy with English examples. Discussion of native responses to the imported castle-building culture is founded upon retrospective projection of inappropriate later medieval social and economic models and anachronistic perceptions of military colonialism. Cultural and socio-economic difference is rarely recognised in archaeological modelling and cultural determinism has distorted perceptions of structural form, social status and material values. A programme of interdisciplinary studies focused on specific sites is necessary to provide a corrective to this current situation.

castles; lordship; lordly residence; earthworks; mottes; colonisation; Nobility Scotland History To 1500; Highland (Scotland) History To 1500; Power (Social sciences) Scotland History To 1500; Environmental archaeology Scotland

The Antiquaries Journal: Volume 88

Publication date30/09/2008
PublisherCambridge University Press / The Society of Antiquaries of London
Publisher URL…003581500001372#

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Professor Richard Oram
Professor Richard Oram

Professor, History