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Scottish Site Harbors Evidence of Dark Times

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Longhouse-exterior2-600x338SUTHERLAND, SCOTLANDArchaeologists excavating the remains of a thatched longhouse in northern Scotland have found evidence for the Highland Clearances, the forced and often violent expulsion of farmers from the Scottish Highlands in the 18th and 19th centuries to make way for sheep production. The roofs of their longhouses were set afire and the walls pulled down to keep tenants from moving back into their homes. At the site, the team found a pot beneath a collapsed wall. "It really suggests the pot was dropped, smashed in place and there was no time to pick up the pieces and the wall has then come down almost immediately, or certainly within days," says Orkney College archaeologist Keir Strickland. "There is a sense of, if not violence, then a very forceful eviction and demolition of buildings to prevent people coming back to this place."