Scotland’s history in 25 objects
Learn about its fascinating past covering over 5,000 years
FROM a Roman distance slab to a medieval football, Antarctic goggles and a dancing fiddle, VisitScotland has revealed the top 25 objects that have shaped Scotland’s history in a stunning e-book. The list was unveiled on International Chess Day held last month as a special nod to the most famous chess pieces in history — the Lewis Chessmen.
Compiled by an expert panel for the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, the 25 objects cover over 5,000 years of Scottish history and the length and breadth of the country, from Shetland to Dumfries and Galloway.
The objects were chosen based on chronological and geographic spread alongside their individual interesting stories.
VisitScotland hopes that visitors will go on a trail while on holiday to discover as many of the objects as possible and in turn, discover more about Scotland’s fascinating past.
The oldest object in the list is a barbed harpoon point (originally found in the Macarthur Cave, Oban) that dates back to the Middle Stone Age, and is one of the earliest instruments used to hunt and fish in Scotland.
The most modern in the list is Dolly the Sheep — the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell — who is currently housed at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and celebrated her 20th anniversary in 2016.
More unusual objects on the list include the Orkney Venus — the earliest known depiction of the female human form — which dates from the Neolithic period and was uncovered at the Links of Noltland on the Orkney island of Westray in 2009.
A violin which ignited Robert Burns’ rebellious streak, revealing more about the great Bard’s personality, is another object that makes the final cut. The Gregg Violin was owned by Burns’ dance teacher, William Gregg.
In 1779, Robert Burns started taking dancing lessons and wrote that he hoped these new skills would “give my manners a brush”, but it was most likely an act of rebellion because his father did not approve of such seemingly sinful behaviour.
Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology began on Jan 1. To date, hundreds of events have happened across the country including Scotland in Six, Weave, Edinburgh’s Georgian Shadows, Tradfest, Dig it! 2017, Festival of Museums and a range of activity across Historic Environment Scotland locations.