5.12 Research Recommendations

  1. What factors lie behind variation in house size and construction? Can clearer patterns in space and time be discerned?
  2. The nature of so-called 'floor deposits' is a key issue requiring further research, and the settlements of the Atlantic zone offer an ideal opportunity for this.
  3. Integrated study of building use needs to be more of a priority, drawing on a range of evidence; this needs to include integration of field evidence of use, repair, etc; comparison of artefact assemblages and their distribution; the ecofactual record; and an understanding of the taphonomic processed governing this evidence. Such integrated work is rarely carried out
  4. Questions of detailed chronology of buildings can and should be tested where circumstances allow a fine-grained chronology to be constructed
  5. Issues concerning raw materials and resource availability (particularly timber and stone) require further exploration, in both chronological and cultural terms, including comparisons between Atlantic and non-Atlantic traditions, but also more nuanced regional comparisons.
  6. Burnt-down houses represent a particularly valuable resource which needs to be seized with careful work in the field and in the lab.
  7. How do lowland brochs fit into their settlement landscapes, especially in relation to other stone architecture?
  8. The development of the complex architecture of Atlantic Scotland remains an active area of debate; new approaches to existing data provide new perspectives, but the impact of the dating evidence of Scatness stresses the prime need for more, reliably dated sequences
  9. There is a need to do more work on political, social and symbolic aspects of the construction of Atlantic roundhouses and their relations with the landscape, other Atlantic roundhouses, and other settlement forms
  10. Many aspects of Atlantic material culture merit fresh synthesis (see also theme 4.4) - little apart from pottery has seen detailed study, and pottery itself still has much to yield
  11. What forces led to the move away from roundhouse architecture in different parts of the country? The contexts, chronology and significance of the introduction of rectilinear forms of architecture in various parts of Scotland during the first millennium AD require a major input of future research and synthesis
  12. There is a need for academic publication of current and future reconstruction and replica projects, identifying the aims, methods, limitations, experiences and outcomes.