‘Radiocarbon Dates and the Scottish Iron Age’: MacKie

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MacKie, E. (1969) Radiocarbon Dates and the Scottish Iron Age, Antiquity, 43(169), pp. 15–26.
‘Within the past two years the chronology of the later prehistoric period in Scotland has been given a new precision by no less than 24 C14 dates obtained from nine different sites, most of which are conventionally assigned to the pre- Roman Iron Age. Previously the identification and dating of the cultures and sites of this period had depended almost entirely on various exotic bronzes and the time that they and other traits were estimated to have reached Scotland from further south in Britain and from the Continent. The last phase of the Late Bronze Age was fairly confidently assigned a start in the mid-6th century BC on the basis of links with the continental Halstatt Iron Age [I] but the bronzes concerned are nearly all stray finds or from hoards and cannot be tied to any contemporary structures or material cultures except at Covesea and, tenuously, at Traprain Law. The same is true of the various examples of decorated Celtic metalwork which have been found in Scotland: these can be given rough dates on stylistic grounds but were stray finds and unconnected with other aspects of the contemporary material cultures. The dating of hillforts and domestic sites of late pre-Roman times has had to rely on the rare examples.’

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