Conference: The Early Peoples of Galloway

CatStrand, New Galloway
Saturday, 3 September 2022, 10.00 - 16.00

The Early Peoples of Galloway is a one-day conference studying the peoples who inhabited what is now Greater Galloway during the ten thousand years between the retreat of the glaciers and the year 1000 AD. Experts from a variety of fields will explore the story of these immigrants, their identities, cultures and languages and their impacts and legacies over successive centuries.

The conference is open to all, but booking is required. See the poster for details.

Changing Landscapes and Environments in Galloway
Richard Tipping: recently retired from the University of Stirling; environmental scientist, palaeo-ecologist and geo-archaeologist involved in exploring the evolution of Scotland’s landscapes.
The varied landscapes of Galloway, far from being a mere ‘background’ to human activities, can be seen to have shaped what people can do. In turn, people have shaped their landscapes, particularly in the last 6000 years when we have farmed. This talk will review the evidence we have from scientific and archaeological analyses into Galloway’s changing environments and climates since the last ice age in contextualising the ways in which people have lived and worked.

The archaeology of Mesolithic Galloway
Aurimė Bočkutė: PhD candidate in Archaeology, University of Glasgow
The Mesolithic period is represented by the earliest communities of people, hunting, fishing, and gathering wild resources across the rich landscapes of Galloway. This talk will review the archaeological evidence of settlement and material culture with comparisons to wider Mesolithic Scotland and highlight the possibilities and importance of engaging with the deep past in the present.

From the emergence of agriculture to the arrival of the Romans: An archaeological overview.
Andrew Nicholson: Archaeologist, Dumfries and Galloway Council.
Some six thousand years ago farming and settled communities began to appear in Galloway. A rich archaeological legacy records their habitations, burial rites, farming practices and creative skills. The advent of metal working and successive waves of incomers accelerated change until Galloway came under the influence of the largest empire yet seen in Europe, the rule of Rome.

Anglo-Saxons and the Old English language in early medieval Galloway
Dr David Parsons: Reader at the Centre for Welsh and Celtic Studies in Aberystwyth, and Director of the Survey of English Place-Names.

Texts, place-names and inscriptions provide evidence for the presence of Anglo-Saxons and their language in Galloway before the Norman Conquest. The Northumbrian monastery established c.700 at Whithorn is the familiar starting-point, but there is also new work on the region’s place-names to report and discuss, while the Galloway hoard, with its Anglo-Saxon runic inscriptions, raises fascinating new questions about language and identity in the period.

Early Medieval Britons
Dr Ronan Toolis: GUARD Archaeology Ltd

The early medieval Britons are perhaps one of the least well understood peoples of Galloway with very little historical evidence to shed light upon them. But what about archaeological evidence? What has recent archaeological excavation revealed about these people, about the nature of their society and the contribution they made to Scottish culture?

Late antique Scotland The earliest Christians in Galloway
Dr Adrián Maldonado: Glenmorangie Research Fellow, National Museums Scotland

This paper will cover the evidence for the arrival of Christianity in south-west Scotland, in particular focusing on new research on Kirkmadrine and Whithorn. It is argued that the missionary model for conversion to Christianity is insufficient, and explores other archaeological evidence for contacts between this region and the late antique west. In doing so we must reconsider our notion of what we think early Christianity looks like, and how it might appear in ways that are not always restricted to a monastery.

Landscapes of the Galloway Hoard
Orla Craig: Graduate Student, University of Glasgow

When the Galloway Hoard was buried, Galloway was populated by Northumbrians, Britons, Norse and the emerging Gall-gaidhíl. The make-up of the social landscape over this period is unclear, with a gap in the historical record and scant archaeological evidence. This paper, discussing the results of an ongoing PhD project, will consider the evidence for the varied socio-political groups active in Galloway in this period and discuss what this can tell us about Balmaghie, and the Hoard’s, place in the early medieval landscape.

The World of the Galloway Hoard: The Northern Irish Sea in the Viking Age
Alex Woolf: St Andrews University

The discovery of the Galloway Hoard has renewed speculation about viking activity and Scandinavian Settlements in the region. In this paper I will review what we know about the region in the later ninth and early tenth centuries and how recent discoveries and ideas have modified views about Galloway and the Vikings.

Some of the titles and descriptions are provisional. The organisers reserve the right to amend the programme.