The Borders and southern Scotland
DOI link for The Borders and southern Scotland
The Borders and southern Scotland book
Any re-evaluation of later prehistoric settlement in the Borders should begin with a review of the Hownam sequence (Fig. 3.1; Piggott, C. M. 1948). Hownam served as the type-site for Piggott’s Tyne-Forth province (Piggott, S., 1966) and for nearly forty years provided the model for Iron Age settlement in south-east Scotland. Already by the early 1980s (Harding, 1982) the validity of the Hownam sequence as a regional model was being questioned, and today its limitations are widely acknowledged (Armit, 1999a). In essence the sequence was based upon an inferred structural progression from the simplest to the most complex, from palisaded enclosure through univallate enclosure to multivallate defences. A final phase or phases, assigned to the Roman period, was represented by an open settlement of stone-built houses on foundations scooped into and over the derelict defences. In broad outline there seems to be no compelling reason to dispute the validity of this sequence for Hownam itself, though the excavation report prompts questions regarding the correlation of earthworks around the western and southern circuits. The problem arose in its application more generally as a regional model, since more recent research has indicated that any supposed ‘progression towards enclosure’, even if locally valid, need not have been regionally uniform or synchronous. Still less would current opinion accept that hillforts appeared in southern Scotland as a result of cultural diffusion from the south.