9.7 Summary of main research questions identified above

  1. The date and function of ringworks
  2. The date and socio-cultural context for mottes (for example, do mottes in Argyll fall within the classical motte building tradition, do they have any correlation with knights-fees, can those found on the Clyde be attributed to the early influence of direct Scottish central authority, or are they a native interpretation?)
  3. The understanding, dating and phasing of different castle building traditions (this is at the most basic level but also includes; what are the different socio-cultural messages being mediated, are there different castle building traditions and what does this reflect, what does ongoing development tell us about changing patterns and expressions of lordship)?)
  4. The use of timber buildings and external buildings at castle sites
  5. The layout and uses of internal spaces within castles
  6. The date, meaning and symbolism of different architectural features in both secular and ecclesiastical building, and the relationship between the two
  7. The origins, dating, status and form of medieval crannog, island dwelling, dun and hillfort use
  8. The landscape and maritime context of castles and reoccupied prehistoric sites (for example, what is the relationship between seaways, harbours, fishing grounds, fisheries, in close proximity to castles)
  9. The uses of islands in assembly and multiple island sites in relation to castles castles or administrative locations
  10. Genealogies of place – length of occupation, re-use and/or continuity of use, links to people, families, etc
  11. In depth place-name studies, interrogated for information on landscape, administration and locational uses
  12. The impact of the High Medieval fishing boom on the economy and landscape
  13. Adaptation to altering fishing patterns
  14. The dating and use of fish traps
  15. The dating of chapels, their subsequent use
  16. The provision of pastoral and spiritual care (this will be multi disciplinary but include understanding material changes in the expression of devotion, developments in the size, layout and internal use of space at churches, links to secular sites and patronage, how were priests supported and accommodated, etc)
  17. The medieval spiritual landscape (for example, we need to identify and better understand the early church and devotional sites, the later transformation of some churches into parish churches and understanding those that did not, the significance of and distribution of sculpture, whether stone churches were built by masons from Ireland, the relationship between the later church and earlier churches, crosses and church boundaries, links to administrative and sacred landscapes and pilgrimage, etc)
  18. The dating, phasing, symbolism and use of carved stones
  19. Patterns of patronage
  20. The development and use of administrative areas (such as parishes and lordships) and estate boundaries
  21. The location and use of assembly places
  22. The location and nature of coastal monitoring features
  23. The location, form, type and pattern of lower status housing and settlement (see Case Study 11: Bàrr Mór) together with specific questions such as, was cruck building a feature of later Medieval building practices in Argyll?
  24. Patterns of land use, farming and woodland, changes and adaptation to environmental changes
  25. The physical, environmental, social and economic impact of climate and coastal change. How did this affect farming practices, settlement patterns and diet?
  26. The re-analysis, dating and phasing of handmade ceramics, together with an understanding of patterns of pottery distribution, including imported wares. Why do so many sites have imported wares and why was there little trade of Hebridean Ware?
  27. Craft and industry, the scale and distribution and social cultural and economic contributions
  28. The location, extant, pattern and social contribution of trade and exchange. Where did trade take place?
  29. Maritime landscapes and exploitation

Read the related case studies:




Read the Case Study:  Bàrr Mór, Kilmartin 


Read the Case Study:  Finlaggan