New evidence for the activities of Pictish potentates in Aberdeenshire: the hillforts of Strathdon
The hillforts of the north-east of Scotland have suffered from a lack of archaeological excavation and models have been developed and redeveloped on very little evidence. Underlining these paradigms was the assumption that the bulk of the sites in the area were prehistoric in origin. This paper presents the initial results of a programme of keyhole excavation that examined construction dates of the discrete cluster of hillforts in what, in this article, is called Strathdon. A brief precis of archaeological research in the area will be presented, together with the unenclosed sequence from the immediate environs and the contemporary historical record, before the early medieval results of the research are summarised and placed in a regional and national context. As the excavations were restricted so too is the discussion, the results established a chronological framework for the hillforts in question but did not explore function or environmental background.