The Scots of the Dál Riata

 In early Scotland, the Picts were joined by the Scots of the Dál Riata.  The Scots were settlers who moved from Ireland – an area along the Antrim coast and part of the province of Ulster. When Fergus Mór mac Eirc moved from Ireland to Scotland,  the Dál Riata maintained ties and was subject to the authority of Ireland until the 6th century AD. When the Scots arrived, they were divided into three kindred groups each with its own king and territory. They were often allied with or at war with the Picts.

Reconstructed Crannog on Loch Glashan

The homes of the Scots of Dalriada were similar to those of the Picts.  A crannog home in Loch Glashan excavation indicates that  they were metal workers, and manufacturers of leather and wooden objects.  They also had pottery from France and the Rhineland, evicdence of  trade. Archaeologists discovered wooden troughs, bowls, a paddle, scoop, worked timber pegs and pins. Scrap leather, sheaths, shoes, a jerkin and a dug-out canoe were excavated. A bronze brooch and axeheads and quern stones were also found.

Dunnad Hillfort/Castle

The hillfort/castle of Dunadd was an important centre for the production of jewelry and the working of precious metals, as shown by the quantity of moulds and trial pieces discovered during excavations. The structure of Dunadd consists of five plateaus each of which is defended by dry stone walling. At the top is the upper fortress that was extended at a later date to the original building giving it a curious kink in the north-west wall.  The entrance to the fort is through a natural cleft in the rock on the south-east. About 10 feet and has sheer sides of about seven feet and presumably had a very substantial timber gateway at the junction of the cleft with the defensive walling.

Eventually, the Scots challenged the Picts for rule of the area. The Picts would triumph only to be defeated by the Scots.  When the Picts were under constant attack by the Vikings, the Scots were eventually able to overwhelm the Picts who were absorbed into the Scottish culture.

For a very scholarly, in-depth study of the subject, check out: http://www.scottishhistory.com/articles/early/settlement/settlement_page4.html    

Tomorrow, A Scottish Delicacy. RitaBay

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