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A Land Won from Waste

Scotland AD 400–1400

by Richard D. Oram

£75.00

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ISBN: 9780859767194
Published: 03 Apr 2025
Format: Hardback
Extent: 576
Publisher: Birlinn Ltd
Imprint: John Donald
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About the Book

Drawing together the evidence of archaeology, palaeoecology, climate history and the historical record, this first environmental history of Scotland explores the interaction of human populations with land, waters, forests and wildlife.

This volume takes the reader from the climatic highs of the Late Iron Age to the depths of the war-torn and plague-ravaged fourteenth century. Departing from traditional frameworks that divide Scotland’s history into periods based on kings’ reigns or major political events, discussion instead follows the major shifts in climate that divide these fourteen centuries into epochs, each with its own distinct characteristics. Starting amidst the fields and forests shaped across the eight millennia of Scotland’s prehistory, where we encounter the imprint of past generations of hunters and gatherers, farmers and fishermen, as well as the legacies of climate impacts and pathogens, the book explores the depths of the Late Antique Little Ice Age and the long climb back to the ‘Golden Age’ of the twelfth- and thirteenth-century Medieval Climate Anomaly, to end with the slide through crop-failure, famine, war and disease of what is reputed to be the ‘worst century in human history’.


The Author

Richard D. Oram

Richard D. Oram gained an MA (Hons) in Medieval History with Archaeology and a PhD in Medieval History, both from the University of St Andrews. He is currently Professor of Medieval and Environmental History at the University of Stirling. A former Director of the Centre for Environmental History and Policy and member of the Historic Environment Advisory Council for Scotland, he is now a Trustee of the National Museums of Scotland.

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