Dockrill Stephen James, Settlement and landscape in the Northern Isles : a multidisciplinary approach, archaeological research into long term settlements and their associated arable fields from the Neolithic to the Norse periods, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2013, (dir. C. P. Heron, L. D. Brown, Université de Bradford)
The research contained in these papers embodies both results from direct archaeological investigation and also the development of techniques (geophysical, chronological and geoarchaeological) in order to understand long-term settlements and their associated landscapes in Orkney and Shetland. Central to this research has been the study of soil management strategies of arable plots surrounding settlements from the Neolithic to the Iron Age. It is argued that this arable system provides higher yields in marginal locations. The ability to enhance yield in good years and to store surplus can mitigate against shortage. Control and storage of this surplus is seen as one catalyst for the economic power of elite groups over their underlying or ‘client’ population. The emergence of a social elite in the Iron Age, building brochs and other substantial roundhouses of near broch proportions, is seen as being linked to the control of resources. Evidence at the site of Old Scatness indicated that there was a continuity of wealth and power from the Middle Iron Age through the Pictish period, before the appearance of the Vikings produced a break in the archaeological record. The Viking period saw a break in building traditions, the introduction of new artefacts and changes in farming and fishing strategies. Each of the papers represents a contribution that builds on these themes.