8.4 Gaps in the evidence

There are numerous major gaps in the evidence for the period. Lower status, undefended sites are virtually unknown, as are associated agricultural elements such as fields, byres, barns, and mills (if they exist). We have almost no knowledge of any building types, even on higher status sites, except for the potentially roofed duns. Norse settlement sites are only hinted at by stray finds. Early churches and chapels are almost entirely unknown, cemetery studies lack sufficient numbers of dated burials to define periods of use, no non-ecclesiastical cemeteries have been excavated (with the possible exception of the new burials at Mid Ross, Loch Lomond), and isotopic analyses have not been undertaken. For the important site of Iona, we have little dating evidence for the complex pattern of monastic enclosures, and no knowledge of the form of monastery and buildings in the period 800-1200. There has been no systematic work on the ceramics of the period, which though sparse compared to the Western Isles, have been found.