9.2.5 Iron Age

The Iron Age appears to be a period of somewhat counter-intuitive contrasts. Increased marked activity is inferred in some upland areas (Caseldine 1980). In the Edradour Burn, for instance, the only period of intensive grazing and sustained cereal cultivation occurred around 3000–2600 cal BP (Tipping in Rideout et al 1996). In contrast, larger-scale mixed agriculture was not established in the fertile lowland Strathmore valley until the early first millennium AD, around 1970 cal BP (Edwards and Whittington 1998a). This contrasts with agricultural expansion in the central Scottish lowlands during this period (Tipping and Tisdall 2005). Well-dated sites remain too scarce to establish whether, as Edwards and Whittington (1998a) suggest, the comparatively late expansion of arable at Rae Loch should be regarded as a locally-specific record, rather than representative of agricultural trends for this region.

Peat core sample from Moredun ©️ Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust

Research Priority

Priority: A more comprehensive understanding of late Iron Age land use in Perth and Kinross. Studies in neighbouring Fife and Central Scotland raise important questions about the dynamics and controls on the mosaic of agriculture and tree cover during the late Iron Age and Romano-British period, particularly across the upland-lowland terrain that characterises this area (Whittington and Edwards 1993; Dumayne-Peaty 1998; Tipping and Tisdall 2005; Given et al 2019).

Research Question

PKARF Qu 9.2: How heterogeneous was the landscape pre/during/post Roman occupation and what can this tell us about the dynamics and controls on woods and agriculture across the upland/lowland terrain?

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The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework