Sunday, October 9, 2011

Holyrood Archaeology Project Team. Scotland's Parliament site and the Canongate: archaeology and history.

Holyrood Archaeology Project Team. Scotland's Parliament site and the Canongate: archaeology and history. Holyrood Archaeology Project Team. Scotland's Parliament siteand the Canongate: archaeology and history. xxviii+306 pages, 125b&w & colour illustrauons. 2008. Edinburgh: Society ofAntiquaries Society of Antiquaries can refer to: Society of Antiquaries of London Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland of Scodand; 978-0-903-903-45-5 hardback 40 [pounds sterling](Fellows 35 [pounds sterling]), [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The Scottish Parliament For the national legislative body up to 1707, see Parliament of Scotland.The Scottish Parliament (Scottish Gaelic: P��rlamaid na h-Alba; Scots: Scottish Pairlament was reconvened in July 1999 following threecenturies of absolute political union with England. The site chosen for the new parliament complex was ahistoric one, dose to Holyrood Palace Holyrood Palace(hŏl`ērd)[i.e., holy cross], royal residence, Edinburgh, SE Scotland. at the foot of Edinburgh'sRoyal Mile. Therefore the development was preceded by a programme ofexcavation and standing building survey; this volume presents thefindings along with the results of a related programme of historicalresearch. The site lies within the former burgh BURGH. A borough; (q. v.) a castle or town. of Canongate, developed fromthe twelfth century by the canons of Holyrood Abbey Holyrood Abbey is a ruined Augustinian Abbey in Edinburgh, Scotland. The abbey (which is sited in the grounds of the Royal Palace of Holyroodhouse, which it predates) was built in 1128 at the order of King David I of Scotland. . Archaeologicallythis ground lay within the Abbey precinct until the later medievalperiod. At that time, the land was divided into plots containingresidences associated with industrial and craft activity and, later,gardens. In comparison with other Scottish burghs, development here waslight, The volume's authors attribute this to the 'highstatus' of the residents; people drawn into the orbit of Holyroodby its increasing association with the Crown (p. xix). After the Union of the Crowns of Scotland and England in 1603, thecourt moved south. However, a royal palace was maintained at Holyroodand Scotland's parliament continued to sit in Edinburgh until itsdissolution in 1707. In this period the site was transformed once again:its plots were amalgamated a��mal��ga��mate?v. a��mal��ga��mat��ed, a��mal��ga��mat��ing, a��mal��ga�� To combine into a unified or integrated whole; unite. See Synonyms at mix.2. to form larger properties, at the core ofwhich lay new urban residences built for the gentry and the aristocracy.One of these--Queensbury House--was the focus of the architecturalsurvey undertaken by the project. In the eighteenth century, Edinburgh New Town replaced Canongate asthe suburb of choice for the wealthy and Queensbury House was rentedout. In the nineteenth century, it was converted to a military barracksand hospital, then a House of Refuge HOUSE OF REFUGE, punishment. The name given to a prison for juvenile delinquents. These houses are regulated in the United States on the most humane principles, by special local laws. ; a brewery was establishedelsewhere on the site. In the twentieth century, the house continued inuse as a hospital; it now stands within the parliament complex. This volume's chief value lies in its well-observed anddetailed structural analysis and its consideration of aspects of theexcavated evidence. The authors also set out to move beyond thedissemination of their data and its analysis. Thus, the success of thevolume and project should also be evaluated in terms of their processesof interpretation and historical contextualisation. Given the chronological focus, the project followed a logical pathin considering documents, illustrations, maps and plans as well as thefield evidence. Successful historical archaeology Historical archaeology is a branch of archaeology that concerns itself with "historical" societies, i.e. those that had systems of writing. It is often distinguished from prehistoric archaeology which studies societies with no writing. requires more than theconsideration of diverse sources, though: it requires a dialogue to beestablished between them. The disciplines have collaborated effectivelyon some empirical matters, perhaps most evidently in relation to thearchitectural development of Queensbury House, where analyses of thephysical evidence and the archive documentation are complementary. Inplaces, deeper insight also begins to emerge from a collaborativeapproach, as in a consideration of the social use of space within thishouse. The volume as a whole, however, betrays a lack of effectivecollaboration of this sort. For example, the chapter presenting theexcavated evidence (Chapter 3) is followed by three chapters seeking tocontextualise this evidence. These relay the (documentary) history ofthe Canongate before c. 1660, rarely moving beyond a general historicalnarrative of the burgh. There is little indication that the historicalresearch was designed with reference to the specificities of thematerial evidence encountered on the site and the 'context'provided is thus not particularly tailored to the needs of this project.These chapters suggest a division of labour where the archaeologistdefers to the documentary historian when it comes to matters of widerinterpretation; meanwhile, the historians pursue these matters inaccordance with their own agenda and with little meaningful reference tothe archaeology. This lack of confluence is also evident in Chapters 13-15 whichdeal with the period from the eighteenth century to the present. Here,again, archive evidence and physical evidence are not combined in amanner which allows the production of interpretations unattainable whenworking with one source alone. The exception to this lack of articulation comes with the analysisof Queensbury House during its 'aristocratic' phase in thelater seventeenth and earlier eighteenth centuries. However, even herethe data wrought from excavation do not really feature in discussions ofthe period after c. 1660. All of the excavated evidence (including themodern material) is reported in the section of the volume dealing withthe centuries before 1660. This editorial decision reflects a moregeneral predisposition to overlook the excavated material of the recentpast, except where it can be used to confirm some detail already knownfrom another source or add some fact where 'documentary evidence isscant' (pp. 214-15). The primary subject of this volume is a place, the Parliament site,and significant space is devoted to describing the physicality of chatplace, its archaeology and architecture. With exceptions as noted, itappears chat higher level interpretation has been devolved to aprogramme of documentary research which followed its own agenda. Theopportunity here was to capitalise on the rich and diverse evidence atthe project's disposal to produce a history which acknowledges andexplores the fundamental and inalienable Not subject to sale or transfer; inseparable.That which is inalienable cannot be bought, sold, or transferred from one individual to another. The personal rights to life and liberty guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States are inalienable. connection between society andits material aspect. To realise this opportunity, two things wereneeded: a common purpose; and a reflexive and iterative approach to theinterpretation of multiple strands of evidence. Greater presence ofthese qualities would have rendered the subtitle of the volumeredundant, dissolving the evident boundary between 'archaeology andhistory'. CHRIS DALGLISH Department of Archaeology, University of Glasgow The University of Glasgow (Scottish Gaelic: Oilthigh Ghlaschu, Latin: Universitas Glasguensis) was founded in 1451, in Glasgow, Scotland. , Scotland, UK (Email:

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