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Caveman Prehistoric


What was it like in the Scottish Highlands in prehistoric times?

The Scottish Highlands is a region of rugged mountains and deep valleys shaped by millions of years of geological and climatic changes.

The Highlands have a rich and diverse history from the earliest human settlements to the present day.

In this blog post, we will explore a brief example of what life was like in the Scottish Highlands in prehistoric times, before the arrival of the Romans and the written records.

The first humans to inhabit Scotland were hunter-gatherers who arrived after the last Ice Age, around 12,000 BC. They followed the retreating glaciers and adapted to the cold and harsh environment. They made tools from stone, bone and antlers and hunted animals such as deer, wild boar and seals. They also gathered plants, nuts and shellfish from the coast and inland. They lived in temporary camps or caves and left behind traces of their activities, such as fireplaces, stone circles and burial mounds.

Around 4000 BC, a new way of life emerged in Scotland: farming. The first farmers brought domesticated animals such as sheep, cattle and pigs and cultivated crops such as wheat and barley. They also brought new types of pottery, metalwork and monuments. They cleared forests for fields and pastures and built permanent houses of stone or timber. They erected impressive stone structures such as chambered tombs, standing stones and stone circles, which may have had religious or astronomical significance.

The farming culture continued to develop and diversify throughout the Neolithic (4000-2500 BC) and the Bronze Age (2500-800 BC). Different regions of Scotland had different styles of pottery, metalwork and monuments, reflecting local traditions and contacts with other areas. Some of Scotland’s most famous prehistoric art and architecture examples are in the Orkney Islands, such as Skara Brae, Maeshowe and the Ring of Brodgar.

The Highlands also have many distinctive sites, such as Clava Cairns near Inverness, which are circular stone tombs surrounded by stone circles.


Clava Cairns
Clava Cairns


The Iron Age (800 BC-AD 100) saw further changes in society and technology. The use of iron for tools and weapons increased, and new types of pottery and jewellery appeared. People lived in fortified settlements called brochs, duns or crannogs, circular stone towers or wooden houses on artificial islands. They also built hillforts in strategic locations to defend themselves from enemies or raiders. They traded with other parts of Britain and Europe, exchanging goods such as wool, leather, metalwork and slaves.

The Iron Age people of Scotland did not leave any written records of their own, but they were known to classical writers such as Julius Caesar and Tacitus. They called them various names, such as Caledonii, Picti or Scoti, depending on their location or appearance. They described them as fierce warriors who painted or tattooed their bodies, wore colourful clothes and jewellery, and fought with chariots and swords. They also had complex religious beliefs and practices involving druids, sacrifices and sacred groves.

The prehistoric period in Scotland ended with the arrival of the Romans in southern Scotland in the 1st century AD. The Romans attempted to conquer Scotland several times but failed to subdue the northern tribes. They built a series of forts and walls along the frontier, such as Hadrian’s Wall and Antonine Wall, to control the movement of people and goods. They also introduced new elements of culture, such as writing, coinage, roads and baths.

However, their influence was limited and short-lived in the Highlands, where the native people maintained their identity and traditions for centuries.





Prehistoric Scotland – Wikipedia

Timeline of prehistoric Scotland

Hidden Scotland

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