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Before Scotland

The Story of Scotland Before History

Alistair Moffat

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Essential reading for anyone interested in the land that became Scotland


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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'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 … the text is sprinkled with the sort of facts that should make even the doziest reader sit up and think'
Scottish Field


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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 23.4 x 15.6 cm

Extent: 352 pp

Illustrations: 22

Publication date: 16 March 2009

ISBN: 9780500287958

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