10.14.2 Material culture and buildings

Material culture of this period consists of almost anything from basic agricultural tools and implements, early farm machinery, wood working tools, furniture, textiles, clothes, to household items such as glass bottles, industrially produced ceramics, bone spoons and clay pipes. The vast increase in the amount of material culture available between the 17th century to the 19th is shown by the contrast between the 7 individual items found on the site of Barr Mor (CANMORE ID 273094) (14th – 17th century ) and the 7 boxes of items from Glennan (19th century) (CANMORE ID 152206). Material culture belonging to the Modern period is just as likely to be found in antique shops as museums and, therefore, their loss to Scotland is threatened as items are bought up and exported. This comes back to identity as it is members of the diaspora who are the buyers of these items wishing to connect with their past. Dunollie Castle has a significant collection of textiles and clothing relating to the MacDougal clan chiefs. Other private attics could also could contain items relevant to this period which if left unprotected could suffer damage or loss. Compounding the issue is the sheer volume of material culture produced and consumed in this period.

View of Inveraray Castle ©HES

By the 17th century the display of social status through architecture had resulted in the construction of many stone castles by clan chiefs and continued with tower houses, less defensive country seats and lesser lairds dwellings, for which Argyll is famous. The castles are dominated by the Campbell seat at Inveraray (CANMORE ID 23349) but other examples would warrant much more study. The lesser houses in particular, belonging to the bonnet lairds, can be found re-used as barns and outhouses, their architectural value unrealised, or converted and original features lost.