38 – Scotcast Part Four

We're closing out the BC period. Which means we've got iron, Celtic culture, and Brochs. Good times!

(History of Britain, History of Scotland, Celtic History)

Ok, on with the tale! So when we last left off, a gigantic Icelandic volcano exploded. It was 1159 BC and all hell was breaking loose. We had a dramatic reduction in farming, a possible dramatic reduction in population, and a marked increase in weaponry. Chances are there was a gigantic cloud of dust screening out the sun, possibly for years. And in Orkney we see evidence of a huge reduction in the environment. For example, samples of pollen from pine trees drop to about 10% of their previous amount following the eruption. 10%! And from other dig sites and records from nearby areas, such as in Ireland, we see evidence of about 18 years of bad weather that followed the eruption. And what wasn’t even the worst of it. In Orkney, and as you probably remember, I love the prehistory of Orkney, there might have also been a corresponding tsunami following the eruption.

And while this really sucks for the people, as well as much of the vegetation, it was awesome for the creation of peat bogs. That’s because the land became so much wetter. Yes yes, it rains in Scotland. But it’s raining a ton more. Also, don’t forget that we’re also going through a cooling period so some of the vegetation wasn’t ready for this anyway. So huge changes, and with those changes comes a drastic spread of Peat. And that Peat was probably dislocating the population and forcing them to move into other regions. We see this most commonly in the north, such as in Orkney and the Shetlands.

Now obviously, farming was probably becoming a problem with all these changes in the climate so it seems that many of the people, displaced or otherwise, were switching to animal husbandry. And some suggest that there was a general flight of inhabitants to the south as the north was ravaged by terrible weather. So we’ve probably got highlanders and their sheep heading south under a dark cloud of Icelandic ash. And they were probably armed. Good times.

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  4 comments for “38 – Scotcast Part Four

  1. Jeremy Gilbert-Rasso
    September 24, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Big fan. A bit behind in the show. Only on #38. Probably gonna become a member this weekend. Excited for that. One question though and it in regards to the Post-Roman Britain. Did you use John Morris’ book The Age of Arthur as a source. I’ve found that it is one of the better sources to that time frame. It’s a really dry read, even for a history buff however the amount of information is amazing. Thanks and I already have ya on Facebook, keep up the great work!!

    • September 24, 2012 at 9:42 am

      Actually I haven’t checked that one out. I’ll have to have a look into it. Thanks!

  2. Oen
    July 20, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    Interesting podcast. How exactly do we know that henges were falling out of fashion?

    • July 26, 2014 at 6:10 pm

      They weren’t built with the same level of frequency. :)

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