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Before Scotland

A Prehistory

Alistair Moffat


A pioneering look at early Scotland that transforms prehistory into gripping narrative history

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The story of the land that became Scotland is one of dramatic geological events and impressive human endeavour. Alistair Moffat’s gripping narrative ranges from the great thaw at the end of the Ice Age – which was instrumental in shaping Scotland’s magnificent landscape – through the megalith builders, the Celts and the Picts, to the ascension of King Constantine II.

Moffat deploys his knowledge with wit and deftness, interweaving the story with numerous special features on topics as diverse as cave drawings of dancing girls, natural birth control, the myth of Atlantis and the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence – all of them valuable, sometimes quirky, additions to the whole picture. Rounding out the account is a selection of carefully chosen colour photographs that give a strong sense of the Scottish landscape and monuments.

Erudite and entertaining, Before Scotland transforms our understanding of a neglected period. A story of dramatic geological events and impressive human endeavour, it is essential reading for anyone interested in the land that became Scotland.

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'Vivid and compelling'
The Sunday Herald

'As fresh and warm as a dram of uisge beatha'

'There’s a timelessness about people and landscape which is brought out quite brilliantly here. This book deserves to be very, very widely read'
Professor Barry Cunliffe, Oxford University

'Lively and entertaining'
Scottish Field

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 19.8 x 12.9 cm

Extent: 400 pp

Illustrations: 23

Publication date: 6 July 2023

ISBN: 9780500297254

Contents List

1. The Painted Islands
2. The Ice Domes
3. The Wildwood
4. The Kindred Ground
5. Homely Geometry
6. The Iron Warlords
7. Caledonia
8. The Last of the British

About the Author

Alistair Moffat was born in Kelso, Scotland. He is an award-winning writer and historian, and was Director of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and is former Rector of the University of St Andrews. He is founder of Borders Book Festival and Co-Chairman of The Great Tapestry of Scotland. His many books include The Highland Clans and Scotland's Forgotten Past, both also published by Thames & Hudson.

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