• Fictional History, Patriotism, and the Fight for Scottish Independence

    by LuAnn McCracken Fletcher

    As promoters of Scotland as a tourist destination continue to embrace “tartan heritage” in an effort to support Scotland’s important tourist industry, they unwittingly reinforce a version of history that serves the purpose of political propaganda, rather than disseminating a nuanced understanding of Scotland’s past. 

  • New excavations to find lost Pictish kingdom

    ARCHAEOLOGISTS are planning a major dig to uncover one of the lost Kingdoms of the ancient Picts, the tribe of legendary warriors whose empire stretched from Fife to the Moray Firth before they mysteriously vanished from history.Until recently historians had believed that Fortriu - one of the most powerful Kingdoms of the “painted people” - had been based in Perthshire.But recent research has now placed the Pictish stronghold much further north to the Moray Firth area.And it was revealed today that a team of archaeologists from Aberdeen University are to embark on a series of excavations on the Tarbat peninsula in Ross-shire where archaeologists have already uncovered evidence of the only Pictish monastic settlement found in Scotland to date....

  • The battle of Flodden 500 years on

    IF IT weren’t for the history, Branxton Hill in north Northumberland would be an ordinary patch of farmland essentially indistinguishable from a thousand other northern English fields. But there is history – and tragedy – aplenty here. As the clouds part, the land is washed with sunshine, the barley whispers in the breeze and you remember that the fate of a nation was once decided on these quiet and ordinary fields. For this is Flodden.Five hundred years ago this place was a charnel house; on these fields were piled high the bodies of the Scottish dead. All very gallant; all very dead. Ten thousand of them, it is reckoned, though it is hard to be precise about these matters half a millennium later. At any rate, Scottish corpses outnumbered their English counterparts two to one. Among them King James IV himself, his natural son, the bishop of St Andrews, and no fewer than 13 earls. All of them lying cold in the clay.For centuries Flodden was the yin to Bannockburn’s yang. To recall one was to implicitly recall the other. They balanced one another perfectly; one a triumph the other a disaster. But no more, I think. The 700th anniversary of Bannockburn next year will be loudly celebrated; the 500th anniversary of Flodden next month will be recalled with barely a whisper....