4.3.4 Late Bronze Age

Developments that began in the Middle Bronze Age largely continue into the Late Bronze Age. The character and nature of settlement remain largely unchanged (Pope 2015) although it has been argued (Strachan 2010b, 49) that a climatic downturn around 1000 BC resulted in the abandonment of many upland settlements. This remains to be checked, however, through fine-grained interrogation of the available palaeoclimatic and settlement data, allied with targeted radiocarbon dating. Cremation, with the remains sometimes deposited in Bucket Urns, continued as the funerary rite. A continuing concern with marking astronomical phenomena is shown in the Four-Poster monuments that appear as a novel monument type. There is evidence for the reuse of pre-existing monuments, both for the deposition of the dead and for other purposes such as working with bronze, at Moncreiffe (MPK3163). More bronze artefacts have been found, singly or as hoards, than is the case with the Middle Bronze Age (Coles 1960). These include the spectacular ladle from the Corrymuckloch hoard (MPK9219; Cowie et al 1996) – an object connected with the Late Bronze Age practice of elite feasting which reminds us that here, as elsewhere in Scotland, we are dealing with a ranked society (see Corrymuckloch Case Study). The bronze swords that have been found, especially in and around Loch Tay (Cowie and Hall 2001; 2010), attest to combat forming an element of inter-group relations during this period. Also from this period come the spectacular organic finds of the Carpow logboat (MPK12214; Strachan 2010a) and the Blairdrummond disc wheel, both of wood. It may be that some of the wooden trackways that have been found in the region were constructed during this period, but none has been dated.

The Corrymuckloch ladle ©️NMS

Archaeological evidence for the Late Bronze Age (and other parts of the Bronze Age) in Perth and Kinross was first assessed as part of a wider Tayside area review by Coutts (1970; 1971). He noted a scarcity of Late Bronze Age settlement and funerary monuments in comparison to earlier parts of the Bronze Age. Archaeological work had significantly enhanced the picture by the time Winlow (2010) undertook the next, and most recent, comprehensive assessment of the region’s Late Bronze Age archaeological resource as part of the Carpow logboat investigation. Although limited to the environs of the lower rivers Earn, Almond, Tay and the latter’s estuary, Winlow’s study outlines the Late Bronze Age landscape below the Highland boundary fault. It also includes valuable palaeoenvironmental contributions (Tipping and Milburn in Winlow 2010). Site density has increased further since Winlow’s assessment and her conclusions remain relevant to the current resource, where understanding of regional settlement and burial chronologies is limited but future research potential is extensive (Winlow 2010, 149–50). Funerary Practices and Ceremonial Monuments Settlement Material Culture