Synopses & Reviews
This story of early Scotland begins 10,000 years ago at the end of the Ice Age when the familiar Scottish geography of mountains, glens, and rugged coasts evolved. It follows the movement of hunter-gatherers north, the growth of fishing, the establishment of farming. The author also covers cultural evolution in Scotland '" the roles played by megalith builders, Celts, Picts, and others.
Dramatic geological events and impressive human endeavor--a revealing history of the land that became Scotland. The book begins 10,000 years ago, when the close of the Ice Age produced the familiar Scottish geography, and traces the rise of Celtic and Pictish cultures. Book-of-the-Month, History, and Discovery Channel Book clubs.
Alistair Moffat's gripping narrative begins 10,000 years ago, when the power of icebreak and meltwater at the close of the Ice Age produced the familiar Scottish geography of mountains, glens, flatlands and rugged coasts. As the permafrost gave way to vegetation, herding animals moved north, closely followed by bands of hunters. In fact, modern DNA studies show that almost eighty percent of the present population of Britain are the direct descendants of these first bunter gatherer fishers. By 3800 BC farmers had become established, creating remarkable timber halls whose remains have newly come to light and later the great standing stones at Callanish, the Ring of Brodgar and elsewhere. And by the first millennium BC a sophisticated Celtic culture animated the whole island, reemerging in the fifth century AD after the brutal Roman occupation. In the north of Scotland, Pietish culture flourished. Seen against the continuum of 8,000 years of prehistory, the Piets appear less mysterious, their beautiful, unique symbol stones forming a late sequence in a long tradition of sanctity. North Britain began to change into Scotland with the success of the Gaelic kings of Argyll the name "Scot" originally meant a seaborne raider or pirate. By AD 900 King Constantine II had consolidated the ambitions of the Scots and created the basis of the polity that has come down to us. One of the pleasures of this outstanding book is the light touch with which the author displays his breadth of knowledge interweaving the main narrative with discussion of intriguing, often quirky topics such as cave drawings of dancing girls, natural birth control, the myth of Atlantis and the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence.
The author also covers cultural evolution in Scotland '" the roles played by megalith builders, Celts, Picts, and others.