The HARP Field School was an in-person learning experience, commencing August 8th, 2022, and running until August 19th, 2022. We met in Pitlochry, Scotland to complete the course in the Highlands. This is where we were introduced to both the teaching team and fellow university undergraduate and graduate students. The well-established team that we learned from consisted of Ian Hill, Kieran Manchip, Tom Lyons, and additionally Dr. Victoria Gordon. The students learning and working together under this team flew from all over North America to participate in such an amazing experience.
In the following order, we explored three main site locations in the central Scottish Highlands over the course of ten days:
➢ 1. Mapping of General Wade’s Military Road
➢ 2. Upper and Lower Gaskan Surveying
➢ 3. Points of Interest on Schiehallion (nearby Munro)
(1) On the first day, during a brief surveying journey, a portion of the otherwise unmapped military road was re-discovered. The established map had located the road where the current highway runs, yet there was a straying portion. The mapping of the military road is a helpful tool to understand the path of General Wade’s army and consequently the Jacobite’s. Through further exploration, there were many additional aspects uncovered in relation to this Military Road such as culverts, ditches, banks, pits, a trackway, and quarries.
(2) When surveying the Upper and Lower Gaskan sites, we got to truly experience the beauty of the Highlands driving in the mornings and afternoons through the countryside. At these sites we got to complete building and surrounding structure recordings. The Upper Gaskan site was partially covered in wooded forests and the other half was in the open, running North to South along a subtle slope. The Lower Gaskan site was at the bottom end of the sloped incline and contained a structure built with increased advancement, a cairn and a large enclosure potentially holding livestock, gardens, or providing a meeting spot.
(3) Near the end of our journey, we got to trek a portion of Schiehallion in search of previously established structures to record. These structures included longhouses which proved difficult to find due to the seasonal challenge of the long grasses and alternating weather conditions. We discovered the heavily concealed longhouse remnants outlined with heather.
These three site locations provide important contextual information on the impact of the Jacobite Uprisings and the Highland Clearances. The Highland Clearances are displayed as prominent in these sites due to the large number of old abandoned structures in the Highlands, which would have had further settlement implications in the area. These events help us to understand the social and cultural ideologies of the past and lingering impacts seen in present day Scotland. I learned significant data from these sites contributing to my knowledge on my areas of interest.
After the field school had been completed, I was fortunate enough to be able to continue my learning experience regarding the subject matter I took the most interest in. I was able to analyze collected data from previous years, and the current year I partook in. The ability to look closely at all the available data was a great source in understanding how aspects we archaeologically explored provide social and cultural context to the past. Following the ten-day field school and frequent reflection I have come to the following conclusions…
There are a wide range of ideologies surrounding the Jacobite Uprisings (1688-1746) and Scotland Clearances (1750-1860), many influenced by media misconceptions. With media influenced myths concerning Highland history, it is important to have archaeological data aiding in proper understanding of the cultural and societal implications. Prior to my time spent in Scotland, I employed preconceived notions that glorified and romanticized the Jacobite Army. Simultaneously painting a picture in my mind that the change brought by these transformative periods were negative (e.g. the rest of the world was changing and evolving but the Highlands were not and were instead stuck in their old-fashioned ways), but this is not necessarily the case.
I have created four ‘posters’ which are spread throughout this blog post. These were created in the developmental phase of my ideas but I believe they will aid in the understanding of the period and articulating my findings. The overarching topic that intrigued me was understanding how the settlement patterns following the Jacobite Uprisings reflected changing society and Scottish culture.