Current Research

Maclean’s Cross in Cladh Sorobaidh, Tiree. Image by author.

Aerial and Satellite Archaeological Prospecting: Tiree, funded by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

It is known from textual sources that numerous monasteries were established in the Hebrides in the early Christian period. Evidence relating to these sites may survive in place-names and dedications, or crosses and sculptural fragments. Investigating these sites in their entirety is difficult using traditional archaeological methods for a variety of reasons. The aim of this project is to survey suspected early monastic sites on the island of Tiree using remote sensing technologies, which enables broad areas to be analysed through airborne and satellite data.

View of Eilean Shona near the mouth of the River Shiel. Image by author.

Places, Landscapes, and Religious Identity in Atlantic Scotland, ca. 350 BC – AD 800, supported by the Strathmartine Trust.

This book examines the earliest written evidence naming peoples, places, and religious settlements in this sparsely documented region, in comparison with archaeological remains. This work demonstrates the fascination held by scholars in antiquity for this northernmost outpost of Celtic Europe, exploring the documentary remains of the Flavian Roman naval survey of this maritime environment and widespread interest in the places of Atlantic Scotland in ancient Mediterranean learned circles. Atlantic Scotland became a hub for monastic settlement in the early Christian period. The second half of this book explores the impact of the Christian conversion, examining references to places and religious landscapes recorded in early medieval texts. In combination with the ancient source material, this book revolutionizes our understanding of Atlantic Scotland in the pre-Viking age and stresses the importance of using Classical authors to corroborate the early medieval evidence upon which studies of this region have traditionally been based.