How aerial technology helped us discover the largest Pictish settlement in Scotland

Press/Media: Articles in 'The Conversation'

Description

A much-loved local landmark with an ancient fort at its summit, Tap O'Noth is a gently sloping hill overlooking the lush rolling farmland around the village of Rhynie in Aberdeenshire.

Until now, the fort was widely believed to date back to the Bronze or Iron Age. But thanks to a combination of drone footage, aerial 3D laser-scanning and radiocarbon dating, our research has revealed that not only is the fort much younger than previously thought, it also potentially stands as one of the largest Pictish settlements of the late and post-Roman periods.

We discovered it had once contained 800 dwelling platforms – housing as many as 4,000 people – and if they all date to the same period this would stand as almost urban-scale settlement, which archaeologists previously did not believe existed in Scotland until the 12th century.

Period16 Jun 2020

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