6.3.3 Building Interiors

The growing body of well-dated settlements allow archaeologists to get an idea of Bronze Age building interiors. Frequently identified in excavation, floor surfaces within buildings have the potential to hold information about the activities undertaken by the users of the building and thus cast light upon the varying functions of the buildings, whether they were for domestic use, craft production or storage (see discussion in Chapter 3).

However, no Bronze Age floor surfaces have been identified with any certainty in Highland Scotland. In the acid soils of the Highlands such discoveries are extremely rare. Genuine floor surfaces are only likely to be preserved when there are cases of rapid overburden accumulation and subsequent preservation. For instance, the remains that would be found within a building that collapsed during a catastrophic fire (eg House 10/1 on Tormore, Arran; Barber 1997) or that were buried by flood deposits, for example at Upper Suisgill, Helmsdale (Barclay 1985), and Navidale (Dunbar 2007) in Sutherland. However, the first two excavations predated the availability of the types of soil analysis that are available today.

There is evidence of paved flooring at a number of houses, for example at Connagill, Navidale (MHG61678) and Upper Suisgill (MHG9345) in Sutherland. At Connagill and at one of the Lairg roundhouses stakeholes were interpreted as evidence of possible interior wattle panels. The house at Connagill also contained the remains of burnt wicker (Dagg 2014).

Not all Bronze Age buildings were designed as domestic spaces, and not all domestic buildings were used exclusively for human habitation throughout their lifespan. It was probably the case that under one roof, at any one time of day, a wide spectrum of activities took place often without clear domestic boundaries and leaving few diagnostic traces.

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