Aspects of Daily Life

Our insights into the daily life of the Neolithic inhabitants of the Highland Region are largely based on the evidence for agricultural activity, cooking, and the deposition of waste, either in pits or in spreads of material. Unlike Orkney, where the existence of dice-like objects at Skara Brae suggests leisure activities, there is no evidence for leisure activities in Highland Region. However, the rich artefactual record and the evidence for funerary practices allow us to appreciate just how the inhabitants of the region interacted with each other and with others outside the Region, and how society ‘ticked’. Identity was expressed, for example, in the choice of funerary monument design, with the builders of passage tombs continuing a tradition that had first appeared in the west of the Region. Social differentiation is shown, for example, in the process of competitive conspicuous consumption played out in the construction of the imposing long horned cairns of Caithness and Sutherland and in the use of precious jewellery at Strathglebe and elsewhere on Skye. The adoption of Grooved Ware, maceheads and carved stone balls shows that the inhabitants of this region ‘bought into’ the ‘vocabulary of esteem’ as used in Late Neolithic Orkney and Aberdeenshire.

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