3.1 Introduction

This section addresses the evidence for the Neolithic in Scotland on a more detailed level than the ‘overall Big Picture narrative’. Even at the ‘Big Picture’ level it is clear that the ‘Neolithic’ is not uniformly manifested, either in terms of character or chronology, across Scotland. This section consequently explores issues relating to finer levels of spatial and temporal resolution and identifies different scales of research question and narrative. At the heart of this are questions such as:

  1. How much variety is there in the character of evidence between the regions?
  2. How uneven is current knowledge and understanding of the Neolithic in different regions of Scotland?
  3. How does the character of the Neolithic vary across Scotland?
  4. What are the distinct regional developments in the Neolithic?
  5. What is the evidence for interregional interaction at different times?
  6. What are the reasons for the spatial and temporal variability?
  7. What is the best chronological resolution that we currently have, and can it be improved significantly through targeted dating programmes?
  8. Are there some periods for which we have a better resolution / understanding than others?
  9. What type of research questions and levels of narrative are possible with the spatial and chronological resolution currently available?

The detailed picture will be addressed through several subsections: the first will consider the nature and level of spatial and temporal resolution below the ‘big picture’ level; the second comprises regional summaries; the third will compare and contrast the results of these summaries in terms of inter-regional variation, while a final subsection considers research priorities for achieving better resolution on the detailed picture.

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