Caledonians to Picts

Contact with the Roman Empire contributed to social and economic change in Iron Age Scotland. Late in the 1st century AD Imperial legions came north seeking to conquer the whole of Britain. This and subsequent campaigns provided contact between Romans and the local Caledonians. Such contact was sometimes hostile and sometimes not.

Relations with Rome forced greater social distinction based on consumer goods and architecture. Imported Roman goods were accumulated on a few sites. Typically these were marked by large-scale round houses and stone towers or brochs. None of these brochs survives to a great height but the scale of the foundations tells us they would have dominated the landscape. The concentration of imported goods and the imposing architecture suggests that brochs were occupied by a new social elite, or “chieftains”. Eventually chieftains became kings and the Caledonians Picts.

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