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By Neil Oliver

Scotland's heritage will get a rewrite via archaeologist and historian Neil Oliver. How exact are the bills of Mary Queen of Scots's tragic death or Bonnie Prince Charlie's forlorn reason? Oliver unearths a Scotland that cast its personal id with good fortune, regardless of its union with England in 1707.

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Copyright © Neil Oliver The rights of Neil Oliver to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the copyright, designs and patents act 1988. All characters and events in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission in writing of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published without a similar condition, including this condition, being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

Since they would have wanted warmth and protection from the elements they would have worn well-made, neatly fitting clothes and footwear of animal skin and fur, fastened by buttons and toggles of bone, horn, wood or stone. Stone survives best, after millennia buried in the earth, and so archaeologists tend to recover more things made of that material than any other. But stone would have been no more important to the early settlers than any other material, perhaps less. Their tool kit would have included spears and knives for hunting; cords and ties for fashioning snares and traps; equipment for cutting, for preparing skins and hides, for maintaining their clothes - needles for stitching and mending - as well as bags and baskets for collecting wild foodstuffs.

Did she have a son or a husband or a father who was a great hunter? Was it thought that by wearing such a thing she would be recognised elsewhere as a person of status, a woman who had known the protection of a hero? And if the burial party acknowledged and honoured that relationship in death, surely they felt the same way about such unions in life. Beside her was the skeleton of a baby - perhaps her baby - laid on a swan’s wing. A little stone knife, a token, was beside the baby’s waist. Other occupants of the graveyard had been buried with their heads or feet cradled in the crowns of deer antlers.

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