EAA Conference Session

The Network recently hosted a conference session at the European Association of Archaeologists in Glasgow.

The conference abstract can be viewed at the EAA2015 website.

A series of excellent papers were given by our collaborators including John Ljungkvist, Sæbjørg Walaker Nordeide, Alan Miller, Rhiannon Comeau, David Petts, Jana Maříková-Kubková and Oliver O’Grady.


Conference News: Royal Scone A Scottish Medieval Royal centre in Europe

We are pleased to report on our highly successful network conference that took place in Perth (Scotland) during 27 – 29 November 2014. This interdisciplinary conference celebrated the first modern excavations at Scone by bringing together academics working on aspects of royal centres and ceremony from across Northern Europe.

The conference audience enjoyed a wide-ranging series of facinating talks by leading authorities in their field. The presentations covered new research about central places from accross Nothern Europe. Our broad chonological scope explored sites from the Migration Period, through to modern political reappropriations of these powerfully symbolic places, and complexities in the conservation managment of these often vast multi-phased complexes that are affected by competing public uses.

The conference programme and abstracts for the talks can be viewed by following this link.

For the benefit of those who could not attend we have posted links to videos of the conference talks below. Some of the talks are not available due to copyright restriction:


Session 1: Scone: Exploration and Interpretation

Oliver O’Grady (video not currently available)

Richard Fawcett (video not currently available)

Lucinda Dean

Richard Millar

Matthew Hammond

Alan Miller


Session 2: Royal Assembly sites and Ceremonies

Gordon Noble

Alexandra Sanmark

Andrew Johnson

Patrick Gleeson

Jan-henrik Fallgren


Session 3: Royal stones and thrones

David Rollason

Øystein Erkoll

David Caldwell


Plenary Lecture

Elizabeth FitzPatrick (no video available)


Session 5: Heritage interpretation and exploration of Royal Centres

Judith Ley

John Ljungkvist

Jana Maríková-Kubková

Karsten Ley

Alastair Mann

Erica Utsi (no video available)


A series of discussion panels facilitated a rigous debate between the sessions. Key themes of convergence to emerge were reassessment and critique of traditional Celtic / Roman dicotomies inherent within established interpretive models of northern royal centres. Specific convergence was identified in the central role of the royal hall accross period and geographical boundaries; the shared role of elite hunting, public games and horse racing, and symbolic stone thrones in both the Celtic and Roman worlds; and links between elite burial, processional ceremony, cultic practice and control of elite craft production. The proceedings of the conference are to be published in a peer-reviewed monograph.

Through this blog we hope to continue the debate online with our network collaborators and the wider community. We also plan a further conference session at next year’s EAA Glasgow 2015,  entitled ‘Medieval royal centres, the heritage of power and national identity’, which I pleased to say has been accepted so please take note.

The Perth conference was co-organised by Dr Oliver O’Grady (OJT Heritage / Independent Researcher) and Professor Richard Oram (University of Stirling). This event was funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh Research Network Grant: www.royalsoced.org.uk

Finlaggan, Scotland: Excavation Reports

Finlaggan on the island of Islay in Scotland was the centre of the Lordship of the Isles where inaugurations and administrative councils were held during the 13th and 15th centuries.

The following links provide .pdf reports on excavations at Finlaggan. We were very pleased to welcome the excavator of the site and former Keeper of the National Museum of Scotland, David Caldwell at our recent network meeting.

David kindly advised that the reports may be of wider interest to the network:

Caldwell, David H (2010) Finlaggan report 1: introduction and background. Project Report. National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh. (Unpublished)

Caldwell, David H (2010) Finlaggan report 2: archaeological survey of area around Loch Finlaggan. Project Report. National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh. (Unpublished)

Caldwell, David H (2010) Finlaggan report 3: eilean mor excavations 1. Project Report. National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh. (Unpublished)

Caldwell, David H (2010) Finlaggan report 4: chapel excavations. Project Report. National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh. (Unpublished)

Caldwell, David H (2010) Finlaggan report 5: houses and halls. Project Report. National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh. (Unpublished)

Caldwell, David H (2010) Finlaggan report 6: kitchens and houses by jetty. Project Report. National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh. (Unpublished)

Caldwell, David H (2010) Finlaggan report 7: eilean na comhairle. Project Report. National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh. (Unpublished)

Link to site location on National Monuments Record of Scotland website.



Research Development Panel 2: Agenda etc


Research Development Panel 2:

Standards for archaeological exploration at medieval royal centres

and the design of future projects


Date: 10 July 2014 Time: 9.30 AM to 5.00 PM

Location: Room A7, Pathfoot Building, University of Stirling, Scotland, UK


Panel Chairs: Oliver O’Grady & Richard Oram

Attendees: David Caldwell, Adrian Cox, Øystein Ekroll, Patrick Gleeson, Richard Millar,David Rollason

Skype Link: Alexandra Sanmark, Jon Vidar Sigurdsson


9.30 am – 10.00 am Registration
10.00 am – 10.15 am Welcome and introductions

Chair: Professor Richard Oram, University of Stirling

10.15 am – 12.15 pm


1: What are the key physical characteristics of medieval royal centres across Europe and what is the extent of archaeological exploration to date in different areas?

Welcome via Skype Alex Sanmark, UHI Orkney (10.30 am)

12.15 pm – 1.00 pm Working lunch
1.00 am – 2.30 pm 2: What are the main priorities for future archaeology exploration at royal centres?

Welcome via Skype Jón Viðar Sigurðsson, University of Solo (2.00 pm)

2.30 pm – 2.45 pm Break for refreshments
2.45 pm – 3.45 pm 3: What special implications are there for investigative methodologies at royal centres and how might the interplay of interdisciplinary studies affect these?
3.45 pm – 4.45 pm 4: What should be the form and content of new standards and guidance for investigating royal centres and how should these be implemented?
4.45 pm – 5.00 pm Action Points and Closing Remarks





Panel Guidance Notes: Research Development Panel 2


The Royal Scone RSE Network

For six centuries, Scone was the symbolic epicentre of the processes whereby the Scottish state was formed. It was there that Scotland’s kings were inaugurated and the political community gathered to legislate and to advise their monarch. The Royal Scone RSE Network aims to consolidate a collaborative network which links Scottish scholars researching aspects of Scone’s archaeology, architectural history, legal and political history, and colleagues internationally working on royal inauguration and assembly places across northern Europe, together with invited heritage-management professionals.  Their collective objective is to set Scone into its European context, to raise international awareness of its cultural and historic significance, to heighten public understanding of Scone’s symbolic importance at the foundation of the Scottish realm, and to provide a vision for the future safeguarding and sensitive development of both Scone and its European comparators as precious items of world heritage. A core objective of the Network is production of a research development plan to be developed through a series of five panel meetings of academic researchers, archaeologists and heritage sector professionals tasked with exploring key themes.


Proposed Aims and Outcomes:

Research Development Panel 2 Standards for archaeological exploration at medieval royal centres and the design of future projectsaims to inform the production of a Research and Heritage Development Plan for Royal Scone and European Medieval Royal Centres, which will form a key output of the network. The panel aims to encourage stimulating and open debate about contemporary research strategies affecting the current understanding, conservation and future management of historic royal centres. The panel also seeks to reflect on the archaeological historiography of royal centre research and how this has influenced or created imbalance in our understandings and research priorities, with a view to seeking new, integrated and internationalized agendas for investigative research and the production of implementable standards and guidance that can provide a basis for future work.

Panel structure

The panel has been devised to follow a clear agenda structured around a series of core questions; these are intended to provide a formal starting point and stimulus for focused debate. Each set panel question will be chaired to guide the discursive process and attempt to formalize agreement on conclusions at the close of each segment.



Additional information about traveling to Stirling, accommodation advice and eating out can be found by following this link: http://www.stir.ac.uk/about/getting-here/


Welcome to the Royal Scone RSE Network project blog.

This resource provides a professional forum for knowledge exchange and debate for invited researchers and heritage professionals  working on medieval royal centres throughout Europe. Details about the project’s background and aims can be found on the About page of this blog. For shared reports, site information, project conference documents and more please connect to the project Dropbox folder. Simply request a link to the folder if you have not already received one.

Subsequent posts will update our collaborators about the project activities already undertaken so far this year, including details of our first Research Development Panel meeting that was hosted by the University of Stirling and feedback from our first Public Interpretation Event held earlier this Spring at Perth, Scotland.

News will also be forthcoming soon on developments with our up-coming conference scheduled for December of this year and the next Research Development Panel taking place on 11th July 2014.

We welcome and encourage your participation in this blog with your own posts and comments.

Please return regularly for updates.



Dr Oliver J T O’Grady

Scone RSE Network Project


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