3.7 Research Recommendations

Research recommendations include:

  1. The need for a comprehensive of overview of settlement forms and variety, dealing with both the wider context and regionality.
  2. The need to explore the relationship with flora and fauna and a summary/database of the Bronze Age evidence
  3. The need to explore how population was structured and other demographic questions (and the potential in DNA/isotope studies), including mobility (both short and long-distance communication), the nature of the ‘family’, and harness experimental archaeology systematically to inform on the breadth of daily practice.
  4. The need for quantification in order to do this – including populating the human remains database.
  5. The potential of burnt bone the need to articulate and emphasise its enormous potential (and therefore the importance of maintaining it).
  6. Establish the Bronze Age as a good period to explore the history of disease
  7. The Bronze Age a good period to study the effects of climate change on society (sites are often found in upland, peaty locations where good preservation of palaeoecological materials such as pollen, plant macrofossils, fungal spores, testate amoebae are to be expected)and there is a need to integrate palaeoenvironmental work in order to e.g.
  • • Move beyond coincidence-matching
  • • Understand expansion and abandonment
  • • Visualise the environment
  • • In order to do this evidence from a range of sources (environmental, skeletal, artefactual, chronological, architectural and site distribution) must be combined
  • Explore the nature/structure of transport and movement
  • Explore  the difference between a Bronze Age way of life and s a Neolithic or Iron Age one, including
    • • Does a Bronze Age way of life lead to a decrease in biodiversity?
    • • What was the system of land tenure/landuse?
  • How is society reflected in the settlement record/land organisation? Can it be ‘read off’?
    • • Were settlements permanently occupied?
    • • How to investigate this?
    • • How to build and challenge architectural/construction models – a role for experimental archaeology?
    • • Were they ‘settlements’ or ‘houses’ as we have come to see them?

    11. A major study linking new work in palaeoclimatology and archaeology is of immediate importance and Scotland currently provides one of the strongest data sets for such work. Such a project must tackle issues of matching the chronologies and scale of the two sources of data and address whether climatic changes are uniform across Scotland as well as if the reactions (in natural and human systems) are also uniform. The relationship between natural changes and human behaviour requires further work to move beyond coincidence matching and explore possible causal connections (or whether other factors, such as political change, are creating an illusion of determinism).