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Appears in Collections:History and Politics Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Medieval buildings and environmental change: chronology,ecology and political administration at Castle Sween, Knapdale
Author(s): Thacker, Mark
Keywords: Castle
Issue Date: Oct-2020
Citation: Thacker M (2020) Medieval buildings and environmental change: chronology,ecology and political administration at Castle Sween, Knapdale. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 12 (10), Art. No.: 238.
Abstract: This paper presents results from an integrated programme of landscape, buildings and materials analysis undertaken at Castle Sween under the aegis of the Scottish Medieval Castles & Chapels C14 Project (SMCCCP). A suite of petrographic, archaeobotanical and radiocarbon analyses are employed to present the first independent dating evidence relating to the construction of three phases of the castle complex, including a primary phase curtain-walled enclosure widely regarded as mainland Scotland’s earliest surviving medieval masonry castle. This data is generally consistent with previous interpretations of the building’s stratigraphy and architectural style, although an earlier than expected determination for the northeast tower draws further attention the contrasting character of this particular structure. Archaeobotanical analysis of the largest assemblage of mortar-entrapped relict limekiln fuel fragments undertaken by the project, thus far, also hints at wider changes in the surrounding environment. Correlating this buildings evidence with palynological and other data associated with the political, vegetational and climate history of the surrounding lordship, and across Argyll more widely, is beginning to align the construction of Castle Sween with broader ecological processes from which the surrounding environment has emerged.
DOI Link: 10.1007/s12520-020-01162-7
Rights: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Notes: Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online
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