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Roots of Nationhood: The Archaeology & History of Scotland

An interdisciplinary two-day conference at the Western Infirmary Lecture Theatre (WILT), University of Glasgow, 28 – 29 November 2009. As Scotland celebrates the Homecoming in 2009, we can expect to see many claims made on Scotland’s archaeology and history in support of discourses of national identity and distinctiveness. In the fifteen years since the Scottish Archaeological Forum debated the subject of Archaeology and Nationalism, how have accounts of Scotland’s past informed the ongoing political debate over devolution and independence? Does archaeology reveal the roots of nationhood or are other themes of diversity, discontinuity and far-flung connections and allegiances just as compelling?

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Day 1: Saturday 28 November

10.00 to 11.00 ‘The presentation of Scottish archaeology in British prehistories since Gordon Childe’s Prehistoric Communities … (1940)’
Keynote speech by Professor Ian Ralston, University of Edinburgh

Session 1: Scotland: Core or Periphery?
Session Chair: Professor Julian Thomas, University of Manchester

11.15 ‘Core and periphery: making sense of Scotland’s Neolithic’
Dr Kenny Brophy, University of Glasgow

11.45 ‘Changing Regional and Local Identities in the Later Neolithic of Scotland as reflected in the ceramic record’
Dr Ann MacSween, Historic Scotland

12.15 ‘Culture contact and the maintenance of cultural identity in northern Britain’ 
Louisa Hammersley, University of Glasgow

12.45 ‘The Early Medieval Antonine Wall’
Adrian Maldonado, University of Glasgow

Session 2: Origins of Scotland and Alba
Session Chair: Professor Dauvit Broun, University of Glasgow

14.15 ‘The Origins of ‘Scotland’
Professor Dauvit Broun, University of Glasgow

14.45 ‘Old country myths of the old Glasgow gentry?’
Dr Stuart Nisbet, University of Glasgow

15.15 ‘Have you found the real one yet?!’: Archaeological enquiry at Royal Scone, investigating the remains of a national edifice.
Dr Oliver O’Grady, Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust

15.45 ‘Friends and enemies, highlanders and lowlanders: conflict and co-operation in Scottish politics, c. 1371 – c. 1452’
Dr Jonathan Cox, University of Edinburgh

Day 2: Sunday 29 November

Session 3: Forging Scotland’s identities at home and abroad
Session Chair: Dr Sîan Jones, University of Manchester

10.00 ‘Caledonia and Rome: the forging of Scotland’s Identity in the Ancient World’
Dr Diarmuid Scully, University of Cork

10.30 ‘The Scots/Irish Debate Revisited’
Dr Ewan Campbell, University of Glasgow

11.00 ‘Dál Riata and Scottish identity, the view from Antrim’
Thomas McErlean, University of Ulster

11.30 ‘From the Glasgow Empire Exhibition ‘An Clachan’ to the Nova Scotia Highland Village: negotiating authenticity and identity in the Scottish diaspora’
Dr Sîan Jones, University of Manchester

Session 4: Local and national identities: symbols, people, places
Session Chair: Dr Simon James, University of Leicester

13.00 ‘Building islands for building homes: five millennia of Scottish loch dwellings’
Robert Lenfert, University of Nottingham

13.30 ‘Pictish, Celtic, Scottish: the longing for belonging’
Dr Steven Timoney, Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust

14.00 ‘Local and foreign clergy: the provision of clergy in the late medieval diocese of Sodor’ 
Dr Sarah Thomas, University of Glasgow

14.30 ‘Stone circles, skulls and sepulchre: identity and prehistory in mid-late 19th century Scotland’
Elizabeth Curtis, University of Aberdeen

15.00 ‘When Worlds Collide: Identity, Historical Roots and Politics’
Dr Murray Stewart Leith, University of the West of Scotland

15.30 Closing remarks – Professor Ian Ralston