2.3 Books, Journals and Newspapers

There are no comprehensive books on Highland heritage and archaeology, the closest are the works by Close Brooks (1995) and Kruse (2012). Architectural surveys for all of the Highlands are covered in Gifford (1992), and regional guides including those in the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland series (Beaton 1992; 1995; 1996, Miers 2008). The Scottish Burgh Surveys also provide useful summaries (see Chapter 9). Multiperiod surveys of various regions are discussed in Chapter 3.

A variety of regional and local studies have been published over the years. The references section in the Highland Archaeological Research Framework and those attached to the HER and Canmore records provide links to many of these studies. Many local history societies have published works or even series including the Gaelic Society of Inverness, Association of Certified Field Archaeologists (ACFA), Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands (ARCH), Inverness Field Club, Kilmorack Heritage Association and North of Scotland Archaeology Society (NoSAS). Some are available online, for example the publications by Caithness Field Club. Inverness Reference Library hosts key collections including the Fraser Mackintosh Collection and the Gaelic Society Collection.

There has been no single written overview of finds from the Highlands. Diagnostic finds for chronological periods are discussed in individual chapters with other key multiperiod objects discussed in Chapter 3.4 and in many of the Case Studies.

The main journal for information remains the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (PSAS) with its multi-period focus. Back issues are available from the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland website, although the most recent issue is restricted to Fellows of the Society. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland (DES) is invaluable in providing brief synopses of fieldwork that occur each year, which alert researchers to potential reports to follow. Most back issues are on the Archaeology Scotland website. Publications from 1947 to 2019 are currently available. Some popular magazines such as History Scotland provide information before full publication of project results.

Close up of the spines of PSAS hard copies. Each copy is bound in black with gold writing.
Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (PSAS) is a peer-reviewed journal dealing with Scotland’s past in its wider context – back issues are available online on the PSAS Platform

Two Scottish online journals publish archaeological reports covering a range of places and dates: Scottish Archaeological Internet Reports (SAIR) are available from the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland website, and Archaeology Reports Online (ARO) are available from www.archaeologyreportsonline.com.

Many academics have started to put their articles and even books online, usually on their institution’s website. Old journal articles and even recent books are being made open access by publishers. For example, the publication of the important excavations at Portmahomack (Carver et al 2016) can be downloaded from the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland digital book platform.

Newspapers provide useful sources of information, even when researching the prehistoric period where 19th century visits to monuments are sometimes discussed and even occasionally illustrated. The most comprehensive online collection is the subscription British Newspaper Archive, which is continuing to add more local newspapers. The Highland Library system has microfilm copies of many newspapers; check with the library for holdings and access. The National Library of Scotland also has copies of many newspapers which can be browsed on site. The Am Baile website has indexed a selection of Highland newspapers.

Of great use are the Old and New Statistical accounts of Scotland. These are reports for each parish, usually by the local minister, for the late 1700s and early to mid 1800s. Some ministers were very interested in local heritage, and provided in some cases, the only evidence for long disappeared sites and monuments. However, in terms of social history they too must be used with care, as they sometimes are wishful thinking if not fabrications. The accounts are available in published books, but also online at the Statistical Accounts of Scotland website.

As well as maps (see chapter 2.4), the National Library of Scotland provides online access to a number of digital resources from their collection including reproductions of biographical dictionaries, publications of the Scottish History Society, Slezar’s 17th century images of some Scottish towns and 19th century gazetteers as well as Hutton’s collection of documents and drawings of Scottish castles, landscapes and churches, with more resources being added each year. Members can also access number of books and journals.

Screenshot of the NLS website showing the digital resources page, with maps, gallery, eResources and moving images available.
A wealth of digital resources relating to Scotland’s past is available on the National Library of Scotland website. ©NLS 2021

One very useful source for the Highlands is the transcript of the Napier Commission from the early 1880s. It represents for virtually the first time the voice of crofters who bravely gave testimony about their lives in often very poignant accounts. The volumes are available in libraries and also on the University of Highlands and Islands Centre for History website together with an index. In a similar vein, the Brand or Deer commission published by the Royal Commission in 1895 provides useful insights into the rural Highlands.