The Mainland is the main island of Orkney, Scotland. Both of Orkney's burghs and Stromness, lie on the island, the heart of Orkney's ferry and air connections. Seventy-five per cent of Orkney's population live on the island, more densely populated than the other islands of the archipelago; the lengthy history of the island's occupation has provided numerous important archaeological sites and the sandstone bedrock provides a platform for fertile farmland. There is an abundance of wildlife seabirds; the name Mainland is a corruption of the Old Norse Meginland. The island was known as Hrossey meaning "Horse Island"; the island is sometimes referred to as "Pomona", a name that stems from a sixteenth-century mis-translation by George Buchanan and, used locally, although it is retained in the name of the Pomona Inn at Finstown in the parish of Firth, as well as a local cafe in the capital of Kirkwall known as the Pomona. The island is densely populated and has much fertile farmland; the bulk of the Mainland is west of Kirkwall and is low-lying, with coastal cliffs to the north and west and two sizeable bodies of freshwater, the lochs of Stenness and Harray.
The eastern part of the Mainland is shaped like the letter "W", the easternmost peninsula being known as Deerness. To the south, causeways called Churchill Barriers connect the island to Burray and South Ronaldsay via Lamb Holm and Glimps Holm. Mainland provides the core of the Orkney Islands, linking the northern members of the archipelago with the southern ones. At the east, west ends, islands proceed to the north and south, somewhat in the shape of an "X"; the western part of the island is part of the Hoy and West Mainland National Scenic Area, one of 40 in Scotland. The population in 2011 was recorded as 17,162, an increase of just over 12% on the 2001 population of 15,315. There are 13 parishes on the island. Sandwick and Stromness lie on the west coast and Evie to the north west. Holm, Deerness and St Andrews are located to the east of central St Ola, which contains Kirkwall town. Firth, Orphir and Harray lie west of Kirkwall and east of the westernmost parishes. Harray has the unique distinction of being the only landlocked parish in Orkney, although it too has a significant coast along the Loch of Harray, albeit a freshwater one.
The three main settlements on Mainland, in order of magnitude are Kirkwall and Stromness, both of which are burghs, Finstown. KirkwallKirkwall, the biggest town of the islands, is on the isthmus between west Mainland and east Mainland, which enabled it to have active harbours facing in two directions for the southern and northern Orkney Islands. Kirkwall has the seat of the Bishop of Orkney, St. Magnus Cathedral is to be found there, it is one of the island's ferry ports. StromnessA long-established seaport that grew with the expansion of whaling, Stromness has a population of 2,200 residents; the old town is clustered along the main street, flanked with houses and shops built from local stone, with narrow lanes and alleys branching off it. There is a ferry link to Scrabster in Caithness on the Scottish mainland as well as the Isle of Hoy. FinstownFinstown is the third largest settlement, used to be known as the "Toon o' Firth"; the origin of its name is thought to be from an Irishman named David Phin who came to the area in 1811.
It is on the direct Stromness to Kirkwall road. In common with most of the Orkney isles, Mainland rests entirely on a bedrock of Old Red Sandstone, about 400 million years old and was laid down in the Devonian period; these thick deposits accumulated as earlier Silurian rocks, uplifted by the formation of Pangaea and deposited into river deltas. The freshwater Lake Orcadie existed on the edges of these eroding mountains, stretching from Shetland to the southern Moray Firth; as in nearby Caithness, these rocks rest upon the metamorphic rocks of the eastern schists, in Mainland where a narrow strip is exposed between Stromness and Inganess, they are represented by grey gneiss and granite. The Lower Old Red Sandstone is represented by well-bedded flagstones over most of the islands. Many indications of glacial action exist in the form of striated surfaces in Kirkwall Bay, with boulder clay with marine shells, many boulders of rocks foreign to the islands made of chalk, oolitic limestone, flint, &c.
Local moraines are found in some of the valleys. The soil is a sandy loam or a strong but friable clay, fertile. Large quantities of seaweed as well as lime and marl are available for manure. There are numerous smaller Orkney islands surrounding the mainland, some which are islets only separated at higher stages of the tide, or skerries which are only exposed at lower stages of the tide; these include Barrel of Butter, Bo Skerry, Bow Skerries, Brough of Bigging, Holm of Houton, Holm of Grimbister, Holm of Rendall, Iceland Skerry, Inner Holm, Kirk Rocks, Little Skerry, Mirkady Point, Nevi Skerry, Outer Holm, Oyster Skerries, Puldrite Skerry, Quanterness Skerry, Scare Gun, Seal Skerry, Skaill Skerries, Skerries of Clestrain, Skerries of Coubister, Skerries of Lakequoy, Skerry of Work, Skerry of Yinstay, Smoogro Skerry, Thieves Holm and Yesnaby Castle. The other islands in the Orkney Islands are classified as north or south of the Mainland; the exceptions are the remote islets of Sule Skerry and Sule Stack, which lie 37 miles west of the archipelago, but form part of Orkney for local government purposes
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
Westray is one of the Orkney Islands in Scotland, with a usual resident population of just under 600 people. Its main village is Pierowall, with a heritage centre, the 15th-century Lady Kirk church and pedestrian ferry service to Papa Westray. With an area of 18.2 square miles, it is the sixth largest of the Orkney Islands. The underlying geology is Rousay type Middle Old Red Sandstone, the flagstones of which make excellent building materials. There is little peat and the soil is noted for its fertility. At the time of the earliest known settlements, c. 3500 BC, in Westray and neighbouring Papa Westray, it is believed that the two islands were joined. A Neolithic and Bronze Age site at the Links of Noltland is in the care of Historic Scotland; the site is threatened by the rapid erosion of the overlying sand dunes. Ongoing excavations have revealed over 30 buildings of Neolithic and Bronze Age date, the earliest of which overlaps in use with the Knap of Howar on the neighbouring island of Papa Westray, the oldest standing structure in NW Europe.
The Westray Wife, 4 cm carved Neolithic figurine was discovered on the Noltland dig in 2009.- this is the oldest carving of a human found in the British Isles. In 2010 some local businesses reported a 45% increase in turnover since the discovery of the figurine. Since four further figurines have been found, together with a wealth of other artefacts. In 2015, a substantial subterranean building dating from the Bronze Age was uncovered; the excavations won'Best Rescue Dig' of the year in the prestigious 2014 Current Archaeology awards. Several of the figurines and other artefacts from the site can be seen at Westray Heritage Centre and the excavation is open seasonally; the Heritage Centre exhibits the'Westray Stone'- a neolithic carved stone from a chambered tomb which resembles the art style of the Boyne Valley in Ireland. Westray constituted a major family estate during the saga period. Largescale excavations of Viking- Norse period sites have been undertaken at Tuquoy and Quoygrew and at Langskaill in recent years.
And it was at Noltland on Westray too, that one of the most impressive castles in Orkney, indeed the Northern Isles, was built, Noltland Castle. The castle was commissioned in the 1560s by Gilbert Balfour, who played the leading role in the murder of Lord Darnley, consort of Mary, Queen of Scots. Balfour married Margaret Bothwell, the sister of Adam Bothwell, Bishop of Orkney who endowed him with Westray, when it was episcopal property; the Castle is situated above the Bay of Pierowall, was built in the 1560s. It is notable for an unusually large spiral staircase, "second only to Fyvie Castle, while its triple tiers of gunloops are without parallel in Scotland, if not Europe". However, Balfour was executed by the Swedes. Other attractions include the Romanesque Cross Kirk and the Castle O'Burrian sea stack once used as a hermitage. Noup Head Lighthouse was constructed in 1898. Flights leave the island's Westray Airport at Aikerness for Kirkwall on the Orkney Mainland, to Papa Westray in the world's shortest scheduled flight, of two minutes.
The main ferry terminal is at Rapness with regular sailings by Orkney Ferries to Kirkwall. The island's main industries are fish farming and cattle farming. Tourism is important to the island economy; the local cheese, Westray Wife, is an organic unpasturised cheese available in mild and mature varieties. It marries well with the local range of Westray bakery goods. Fresh fish and lobster is available locally and is of a high standard; the Westray Development Trust is well known for its renewable energy and recycling initiatives and plans to make the island self-sufficient in energy by 2012. A 900 kW community-owned wind turbine was erected in October 2009, the third large-scale such project in Scotland. “When the community realised it was their turbine, not someone else’s, there was no objection,” stated Alasdair McVicar of Westray Renewable Energy. The spectacular sea cliffs around Noup Head are home to thousands of seabirds including 60,000 common guillemot and black-legged kittiwake, 30,000 razorbill and numerous Atlantic puffin and black guillemot.
During the 1990s the black rat may have been present. Mice, the Orkney vole are present however, as are European otters. List of Orkney islands Geology of Orkney Westside Church Orkneyinga Saga: The History of the Earls of Orkney. Trans. Pálsson and Edwards, Paul. London: Hogarth Press. ISBN 0-7012-0431-1. Republished 1981, Harmondsworth: Penguin. ISBN 0-14-044383-5. One of Orkney's North Isles Westray and Papa Westray VisitOrkney page on Westray and Papa Westray
Kirkwall is the main town of the Northern Isles and the capital of Orkney, an archipelago to the north of mainland Scotland. The name Kirkwall comes from the Norse name Kirkjuvagr, which changed to Kirkvoe and Kirkwall; the town is first mentioned in Orkneyinga saga in the year 1046 when it is recorded as the residence of Rögnvald Brusason the Earl of Orkney, killed by his uncle Thorfinn the Mighty. In 1486, King James III of Scotland elevated Kirkwall to the status of a royal burgh. On the west edge of the town, surrounded by Hatston Industrial Estate, is a prehistoric ancient monument, Grain Earth House, a short low stone-walled passage deep underground leading to a small pillared chamber; this is the form of earth souterrain characteristic of the Northern Isles. It was connected to a surface dwelling, which has since disappeared, the original purpose of these Iron Age structures remains unknown. Further west towards Grimbister is the similar Rennibister Earth House. Kirkwall is the administrative centre for Orkney, is the home of headquarters for Orkney Islands Council and NHS Orkney.
Kirkwall was a parliamentary burgh, combined with Dingwall, Dornoch and Wick in the Northern Burghs constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1708 to 1801 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1918. Cromarty was added to the list in 1832; the constituency was a district of burghs known as the Tain Burghs until 1832, as the Wick Burghs. It was represented by one Member of Parliament until 1918, when the constituency was abolished and the Kirkwall component was merged into the county constituency of Orkney and Shetland. Modern roadsigns still indicate "The City and Royal Burgh of Kirkwall", although Kirkwall is not an official Scottish city. In 1784–85 the well-known outspoken Liberal Charles James Fox represented Tain in the British Parliament, while his political opponents fiercely contested his having been elected in his usual constituency of Westminster. Kirkwall is 528 miles north of London, it is situated on the northern coast of Mainland Orkney with its harbours in the bay of Kirkwall to the north, with Scapa Flow 1.4 miles to the south.
Its parish, St Ola forms the isthmus between Holm. It is the most populous island settlement in Scotland; as with the rest of Scotland, Kirkwall experiences a maritime climate with cool summers, mild winters strong winds, plentiful rainfall overcast skies and sparse amounts of sunshine. The population was 9,293 in 2011; the population was predicted to be about 10,000 in 2018. Kirkwall harbour with nearly 1 kilometre of quay edge is the second commercial hub for Orkney after Hatston. There is a Marina, support for fishing and dive vessels. After extensive work on harbour facilities, the town has become a popular cruise ship stop, with several ships arriving each week in the season; this has added to the prosperity of the town and allowed a thriving sector of independently owned shops. Each year now, 140 cruise ships visit Stromness. Weaving in Orkney took place from Viking times, with John Sclater & Co involved in Tweed production in Kirkwall in the 1970s, they used the brand names Jarltex. The Orkney Library and Archive is in Kirkwall.
Kirkwall has the most northerly of the world's Carnegie libraries, opened by Andrew Carnegie and his wife in 1909. The building survives; the town has two museums, the larger being Tankerness House Museum, which contains items of local historical interest within one of Scotland's best-preserved 16th-century town-houses. It is a Category A listed building Scotland; the prehistoric and Viking collections are of international importance. The other museum is the Orkney Wireless Museum, dealing with the history of radio and recorded sound. There is a Royal National Lifeboat Institution lifeboat station. One of the major annual events in the town is the Ba Game, held each Christmas Day and New Year's Day between the Uppies and the Doonies, each team representing one half of the town; the composer Peter Maxwell Davies was among a group which founded the annual St Magnus International Festival, centred on Kirkwall each midsummer. Orkney Theatre, a 384 seat venue, was opened in 2014 next to Kirkwall Grammar School in The Meadows.
It has an orchestra pit. Kirkwall Harbour can be seen in The Highlands and Islands – A Royal Tour, a 1973 documentary about Prince Charles' visit to the Highlands and Islands, directed by Oscar Marzaroli. Scottish film-maker Margaret Tait was born in Kirkwall, many of her films are set there. Kirkwall has many 17th -- other structures in the local vernacular style. Kirkwall once had a medieval castle, destroyed in the 17th century. Kirkwall is a port with ferry services to Aberdeen and Lerwick, as well as the principal north islands in the group. Hatson pier, the main ferry terminal, is some 2 miles outside the town centre; the Aberdeen, Clyde & Tay Shipping Company operated steamer services to Kirkwall from 1836, with successor companies operating until 2002. Kirkwall Airport, the main airport for Orkney, is 2.5 miles southeast of the town. There are no passenger rail services in Kirkwall, the nearby railways having been industrial or military. Kirkwall Grammar School has been establishe
Archaeology, or archeology, is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. The archaeological record consists of artifacts, biofacts or ecofacts and cultural landscapes. Archaeology can be considered a branch of the humanities. In North America archaeology is a sub-field of anthropology, while in Europe it is viewed as either a discipline in its own right or a sub-field of other disciplines. Archaeologists study human prehistory and history, from the development of the first stone tools at Lomekwi in East Africa 3.3 million years ago up until recent decades. Archaeology is distinct from palaeontology, the study of fossil remains, it is important for learning about prehistoric societies, for whom there may be no written records to study. Prehistory includes over 99% of the human past, from the Paleolithic until the advent of literacy in societies across the world. Archaeology has various goals, which range from understanding culture history to reconstructing past lifeways to documenting and explaining changes in human societies through time.
The discipline involves surveying and analysis of data collected to learn more about the past. In broad scope, archaeology relies on cross-disciplinary research, it draws upon anthropology, art history, ethnology, geology, literary history, semiology, textual criticism, information sciences, statistics, paleography, paleontology and paleobotany. Archaeology developed out of antiquarianism in Europe during the 19th century, has since become a discipline practiced across the world. Archaeology has been used by nation-states to create particular visions of the past. Since its early development, various specific sub-disciplines of archaeology have developed, including maritime archaeology, feminist archaeology and archaeoastronomy, numerous different scientific techniques have been developed to aid archaeological investigation. Nonetheless, archaeologists face many problems, such as dealing with pseudoarchaeology, the looting of artifacts, a lack of public interest, opposition to the excavation of human remains.
The science of archaeology grew out of the older multi-disciplinary study known as antiquarianism. Antiquarians studied history with particular attention to ancient artifacts and manuscripts, as well as historical sites. Antiquarianism focused on the empirical evidence that existed for the understanding of the past, encapsulated in the motto of the 18th-century antiquary, Sir Richard Colt Hoare, "We speak from facts not theory". Tentative steps towards the systematization of archaeology as a science took place during the Enlightenment era in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. In Europe, philosophical interest in the remains of Greco-Roman civilization and the rediscovery of classical culture began in the late Middle Age. Flavio Biondo, an Italian Renaissance humanist historian, created a systematic guide to the ruins and topography of ancient Rome in the early 15th century, for which he has been called an early founder of archaeology. Antiquarians of the 16th century, including John Leland and William Camden, conducted surveys of the English countryside, drawing and interpreting the monuments that they encountered.
One of the first sites to undergo archaeological excavation was Stonehenge and other megalithic monuments in England. John Aubrey was a pioneer archaeologist who recorded numerous megalithic and other field monuments in southern England, he was ahead of his time in the analysis of his findings. He attempted to chart the chronological stylistic evolution of handwriting, medieval architecture and shield-shapes. Excavations were carried out by the Spanish military engineer Roque Joaquín de Alcubierre in the ancient towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, both of, covered by ash during the Eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79; these excavations began in 1748 in Pompeii, while in Herculaneum they began in 1738. The discovery of entire towns, complete with utensils and human shapes, as well the unearthing of frescos, had a big impact throughout Europe. However, prior to the development of modern techniques, excavations tended to be haphazard; the father of archaeological excavation was William Cunnington. He undertook excavations in Wiltshire from around 1798.
Cunnington made meticulous recordings of Neolithic and Bronze Age barrows, the terms he used to categorize and describe them are still used by archaeologists today. One of the major achievements of 19th-century archaeology was the development of stratigraphy; the idea of overlapping strata tracing back to successive periods was borrowed from the new geological and paleontological work of scholars like William Smith, James Hutton and Charles Lyell. The application of stratigraphy to archaeology first took place with the excavations of prehistorical and Bronze Age sites. In the third and fourth decades of the 19th-century, archaeologists like Jacques Boucher de Perthes and Christian Jürgensen Thomsen began to put the artifacts they had found in chronological order. A major figure in the development of archaeology into a rigorous science was the army officer and ethnologist, Augustus Pitt Rivers, who began excavations on his land in England in the 1880s, his approach was methodical by the standards of the time, he is regarded as the first scientific archaeologist.
He arranged his artifacts by type or "typologically, within types by date or "chronologically"
In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery; the Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early and Late Middle Ages. Population decline, counterurbanisation, collapse of centralized authority and mass migrations of tribes, which had begun in Late Antiquity, continued in the Early Middle Ages; the large-scale movements of the Migration Period, including various Germanic peoples, formed new kingdoms in what remained of the Western Roman Empire. In the 7th century, North Africa and the Middle East—once part of the Byzantine Empire—came under the rule of the Umayyad Caliphate, an Islamic empire, after conquest by Muhammad's successors. Although there were substantial changes in society and political structures, the break with classical antiquity was not complete.
The still-sizeable Byzantine Empire, Rome's direct continuation, survived in the Eastern Mediterranean and remained a major power. The empire's law code, the Corpus Juris Civilis or "Code of Justinian", was rediscovered in Northern Italy in 1070 and became admired in the Middle Ages. In the West, most kingdoms incorporated the few extant Roman institutions. Monasteries were founded; the Franks, under the Carolingian dynasty established the Carolingian Empire during the 8th and early 9th century. It covered much of Western Europe but succumbed to the pressures of internal civil wars combined with external invasions: Vikings from the north, Magyars from the east, Saracens from the south. During the High Middle Ages, which began after 1000, the population of Europe increased as technological and agricultural innovations allowed trade to flourish and the Medieval Warm Period climate change allowed crop yields to increase. Manorialism, the organisation of peasants into villages that owed rent and labour services to the nobles, feudalism, the political structure whereby knights and lower-status nobles owed military service to their overlords in return for the right to rent from lands and manors, were two of the ways society was organised in the High Middle Ages.
The Crusades, first preached in 1095, were military attempts by Western European Christians to regain control of the Holy Land from Muslims. Kings became the heads of centralised nation-states, reducing crime and violence but making the ideal of a unified Christendom more distant. Intellectual life was marked by scholasticism, a philosophy that emphasised joining faith to reason, by the founding of universities; the theology of Thomas Aquinas, the paintings of Giotto, the poetry of Dante and Chaucer, the travels of Marco Polo, the Gothic architecture of cathedrals such as Chartres are among the outstanding achievements toward the end of this period and into the Late Middle Ages. The Late Middle Ages was marked by difficulties and calamities including famine and war, which diminished the population of Europe. Controversy and the Western Schism within the Catholic Church paralleled the interstate conflict, civil strife, peasant revolts that occurred in the kingdoms. Cultural and technological developments transformed European society, concluding the Late Middle Ages and beginning the early modern period.
The Middle Ages is one of the three major periods in the most enduring scheme for analysing European history: classical civilisation, or Antiquity. The "Middle Ages" first appears in Latin in 1469 as media tempestas or "middle season". In early usage, there were many variants, including medium aevum, or "middle age", first recorded in 1604, media saecula, or "middle ages", first recorded in 1625; the alternative term "medieval" derives from medium aevum. Medieval writers divided history into periods such as the "Six Ages" or the "Four Empires", considered their time to be the last before the end of the world; when referring to their own times, they spoke of them as being "modern". In the 1330s, the humanist and poet Petrarch referred to pre-Christian times as antiqua and to the Christian period as nova. Leonardo Bruni was the first historian to use tripartite periodisation in his History of the Florentine People, with a middle period "between the fall of the Roman Empire and the revival of city life sometime in late eleventh and twelfth centuries".
Tripartite periodisation became standard after the 17th-century German historian Christoph Cellarius divided history into three periods: ancient and modern. The most given starting point for the Middle Ages is around 500, with the date of 476 first used by Bruni. Starting dates are sometimes used in the outer parts of Europe. For Europe as a whole, 1500 is considered to be the end of the Middle Ages, but there is no universally agreed upon end date. Depending on the context, events such as the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the Americas in 1492, or the Protestant Reformation in 1517 are sometimes used. English historians use the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 to mark the end of the period. For Spain, dates used are the death of King Ferdinand II in 1516, the death of Queen Isabella I of Castile in 1504, or the conquest of Granada in 1492. Historians from Romance-speaking countries tend to divide the Middle Ages into two parts: an earlier "High" and late
A broch is an Iron Age drystone hollow-walled structure found in Scotland. Brochs belong to the classification "complex atlantic roundhouse" devised by Scottish archaeologists in the 1980s, their origin is a matter of some controversy. The word broch is derived from Lowland Scots ` brough'. In the mid-19th century Scottish antiquaries called brochs'burgs', after Old Norse borg, with the same meaning. Place names in Scandinavian Scotland such as Burgawater and Burgan show that Old Norse borg is the older word used for these structures in the north. Brochs are referred to as duns in the west. Antiquarians began to use the spelling broch in the 1870s. A precise definition for the word has proved elusive. Brochs are the most spectacular of a complex class of roundhouse buildings found throughout Atlantic Scotland; the Shetland Amenity Trust lists about 120 sites in Shetland as candidate brochs, while the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland identifies a total of 571 candidate broch sites throughout the country.
Researcher Euan MacKie has proposed a much smaller total for Scotland of 104. The origin of brochs is a subject of continuing research. Sixty years ago most archaeologists believed that brochs regarded as the'castles' of Iron Age chieftains, were built by immigrants, pushed northward after being displaced first by the intrusions of Belgic tribes into what is now southeast England at the end of the second century BC and by the Roman invasion of southern Britain beginning in AD 43, yet there is now little doubt that the hollow-walled broch tower was purely an invention in what is now Scotland. The first of the modern review articles on the subject did not, as is believed, propose that brochs were built by immigrants, but rather that a hybrid culture formed from the blending of a small number of immigrants with the native population of the Hebrides produced them in the first century BC, basing them on earlier, promontory forts; this view contrasted, for example, with that of Sir W. Lindsay Scott, who argued, following Childe, for a wholesale migration into Atlantic Scotland of people from southwest England.
MacKie's theory has fallen from favour too because starting in the 1970s there was a general move in archaeology away from'diffusionist' explanations towards those pointing to indigenous development. Meanwhile, the increasing number – albeit still pitifully few – of radiocarbon dates for the primary use of brochs still suggests that most of the towers were built in the 1st centuries BC and AD. A few may be earlier, notably the one proposed for Old Scatness Broch in Shetland, where a sheep bone dating to 390–200 BC has been reported; the other broch claimed to be older than the 1st century BC is Crosskirk in Caithness, but a recent review of the evidence suggests that it cannot plausibly be assigned a date earlier than the 1st centuries BC/AD The distribution of brochs is centred on northern Scotland. Caithness and the Northern Isles have the densest concentrations, but there are a great many examples in the west of Scotland and the Hebrides. Although concentrated in the northern Highlands and the Islands, a few examples occur in the Borders.
In a c.1560 sketch there appears to be a broch by the river next to Annan Castle in Dumfries and Galloway. This small group of southern brochs has never been satisfactorily explained; the original interpretation of brochs, favoured by nineteenth century antiquarians, was that they were defensive structures, places of refuge for the community and their livestock. They were sometimes regarded as the work of Picts. From the 1930s to the 1960s, archaeologists such as V. Gordon Childe and John Hamilton regarded them as castles where local landowners held sway over a subject population; the castle theory fell from favour among Scottish archaeologists in the 1980s, due to a lack of supporting archaeological evidence. These archaeologists suggested defensibility was never a major concern in the siting of a broch, argued that they may have been the "stately homes" of their time, objects of prestige and visible demonstrations of superiority for important families. Once again, there is a lack of archaeological proof for this reconstruction, the sheer number of brochs, sometimes in places with a lack of good land, makes it problematic.
Brochs' close groupings and profusion in many areas may indeed suggest that they had a defensive or offensive function. Some of them were sited beside precipitous cliffs and were protected by large ramparts, artificial or natural: a good example is at Burland near Gulberwick in Shetland, on a clifftop and cut off from the mainland by huge ditches, they are at key strategic points. In Shetland they sometimes cluster on each side of narrow stretches of water: the broch of Mousa, for instance, is directly opposite another at Burraland in Sandwick. In Orkney there are more than a dozen on the facing shores of Eynhallow Sound, many at the exits and entrances of the great harbour of Scapa Flow. In Sutherland quite a few are placed at the mouths of deep valleys. Writing in 1956 John Stewart suggested that brochs were forts put up by a military society to scan and protect the countryside and seas; some archaeologists consider broch sites individually, doubting that there was a single common purpose for which every broch was constructed.
There are differences betwe