Rethinking Scotland's Neolithic: combining circumstance with context
In 1985 a review of Scottish Neolithic studies from an outside perspective written by Ian Kinnes was published in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. Kinnes's paper offered a discussion of the state of knowledge of Scotland's Neolithic at that time, reviewing forty years of excavation results. He was also critical of, as he saw it, the parochial and derivative nature of Neolithic studies in Scotland. In this paper, written 20 years after Kinnes’s significant contribution, the response to this charge will be discussed. A review of major developments in Neolithic studies since 1985 has also been undertaken, the results of which are included here. The impact of developer-funded archaeology and aerial photography in particular has generated substantial new data not available to Kinnes; these data have been generated within a new theoretical climate in Neolithic studies, and this too will be addressed. Reviews of evidence for settlement and monuments are presented as case studies to exemplify progress made since 1985.