Recommend to your Librarian

Scotland After the Ice Age

Environment, Archaeology and History 8000 BC - AD 1000

Edited by Kevin J. Edwards, Ian B. M. Ralston


This book charts the environmental transformation of Scotland from the end of the ice age in an empty land 10,000 years ago to the Viking invasions of an established society 9,000 years later. When the icefields and glaciers disappeared forests covered the land and sea level rose to create the Hebridean islands. Elk, aurochs, bear, boar, red deer, beaver and horse crossed the land bridge from Europe to colonise the land, first followed by hunter gatherers and later by waves of Celts, Romans, Scots, and Normans, each marking the landscape in distinctive ways. This book brings together environmental, ecological, historical, geological, and archaeological approaches to show how changing climatic conditions and this sequence of cultural impacts shaped the succession of Scottish landscapes which have led to its present unique, beautiful, fleeting forms and variety.

The seventeen authors are scholars from a range of fields, all writing for students and general readers. The first six chapters consider interactions of human ecology, climate, landscape, soils, vegetation and faunal change. The next seven are a chronological narrative history of Scotland's environment over 9,000 years. The final chapter unites these systematic and historical approaches.

The book is extensively illustrated with maps and photographs. The paperback edition includes a new and extensive guide to further reading.

About the Author

Kevin Edwards is Professor of Physical Geography at the University of Aberdeen. He was previously Professor of Palaeoecology at the University of Sheffield.

Ian Ralston is Abercromby Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology and Head of the Archaeology School at the University of Edinburgh, and currently chair of CFA Archaeology. Over his career he has worked on many aspects of Scottish Archaeology before the Vikings, as well as on the later prehistory of western continental Europe. He is the co-author of The Archaeology of Britain: An Introduction from Earliest Times to the Twenty-First Century (2009).


Includes a welcome guide to the vast array of literature that has emerged since the mid-nineties… brings together environmental and archaeological approaches to shed very considerable light on Scotland's cultural landscapes.
This volume is an important survey of an emerging science and as such has the potential to act as a stimulus for renewed and refocused research for years to come.
The editors should be congratulated on the way in which they have undertaken their task, as the book is comprehensive, wide-ranging and well-organised. On the whole, it achieves its aims..... The book is an impressive volume.... indispensable.