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No Stone Unturned

A History of Farming, Landscape and Environment in the Scottish Highlands and Islands

Robert A Dodgshon

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A one-stop text for the long-term history of the Highland countryside, one nuanced in ways that address topical themes like landscape and environmental change.

Starting with prehistory, the book examines the way in which the farming community was organised: its institutional basis, its strategies of resource use and how these impacted on landscape, and the way in which it interacted with the challenges of its environment. It carries these themes forward through the medieval and early modern periods, rounding off the discussion with a substantive review of the gradual spread of commercial sheep farming and the emergence of the crofting townships over the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Throughout, it draws out what changed and what was carried forward from each period so that we have a better understanding of the region's dynamic history, as opposed to the ahistorical views that inevitably flow from a stress on cultural inertia.

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List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
1. Writing the History of Highland Farming, Landscape and Environment
2. The Prehistoric Footprint
3. Prehistory into History
4. Late Medieval and Early Modern Landscapes: Stasis or Change
5. On the Eve of Change: A Look through the Surveyor's Eye
6. The Highland Toun through Time: An Interpretation
7. Landscapes of Change 1750-c.1815: The Broadening Estate
8. Landscapes of Sheep, Deer and Crofts: Change after c.1815
9. The Years of Change: An Overview
Select Bibliography

About the Author

Emeritus Professor Robert A. Dodgshon was formerly Gregynog Professor of Geography and Director of the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth (now Aberystwyth University). His previous books include Land and Society in Early Scotland (1981), From Chiefs to Landlords: Social and Economic Change in the Western Highlands and Islands, c.1493-1820 (1998) and The Age of the Clans (2002).


This is a scholarly tour de force, informed by a lifetime of original research and critical reading. The notion of a traditional Highland agrarian system surviving unchanged from the Iron Age until the eighteenth century is simply blown out of the water.

- Chris Smout, Institute for Environmental History, University of St Andrews

'A welcome addition to the secondary literature approaching Highland and Island history from an original perspective by bringing together archaeological and historical research and by adopting a broad time frame which ranges from the prehistoric period to the early nineteenth century.'

- James P. Bowen, University of Liverpool, Landscape History

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