Nasty, Brutish and Short? The life cycle of an Iron Age round house at Black Loch of Myrton, SW Scotland.
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Excavations at Black Loch of Myrton, Dumfries & Galloway are revealing the very well-preserved remains of an Iron Age settlement, the wetland context ensuring that the timber structures have remained intact and that the detritus of daily occupation survives for us to pick apart and understand. One of the structures in this settlement is an exceptionally well-preserved roundhouse, the material remains of which have been subjected to a barrage of analyses encompassing the insect, macroplant, bone and wood assemblages, soil micromorphology, faecal steroids, radiocarbon-dating and dendrochronology. These will enable us to address some of the key issues regarding the life cycles of Iron Age roundhouses, from conception and construction, use of internal space, nature of occupation and likely function, through to abandonment. Critically, we are now able to view that life cycle through the lens of a tightly-defined chronology bringing us close to the ‘ … short-term timescales of lived reality’ [Foxhall, L. 2000. “The Running Sands of Time: Archaeology and the Short-Term.” World Archaeology 31 (3): 484–498].
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