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A History of Scotland Look Behind the Mist and Myth of by Neil Oliver

By Neil Oliver

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

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She is the sole survivor of her time - of the world of the British Isles before the last glacial - and despite the millennia between her and us, we are one and the same. Bones from other sites in England - at Swanscombe in Kent and Boxgrove in West Sussex - reveal the presence of ancestors that are hundreds of thousands of years older. These were early humans of the type that predated even Homo sapiens neanderthalensis - Neanderthal Man - and recall a time when the people who came before us hunted giant deer and rhino in a climate much kinder than our own.

Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales are like tenants of a shared house. We each have our own room but we meet the others in the hall, the kitchen and the living room all the time. Scotland has also shaped the story of the wider world. Scots have long been the world’s vagabonds, ‘the tattered outcasts of the earth’, and our very natures have dictated at least a few lines of the story of every other country on the planet. Apart from anything else, history is always family business - the good, the bad and the ugly as well as the downright shameful and embarrassing - and discussing it in public always leads to arguments.

The oldest of the rocks beneath the feet of Scots are the Lewisian gneisses. These form the basement bedrock of Lewis, the rest of the Western Isles, the Inner Hebrides and some parts of the seaboard of the north-west. They were formed deep beneath earth’s crust three billion or more years ago. Calanais stone circle on Lewis was built of monoliths of Lewisian gneiss nearly 5,000 years ago. But the rock of which it is made - the rock of which Lewis is made - began its journey towards that time and that place at least three thousand million years before that.

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