06 February 2013
A team of Scottish historians, archaeologists and scientists have joined forces to create a graphic novel-style book which tells the story of Scotland's history in a new way. ...
A team of Scottish historians, archaeologists and scientists have joined forces to create a graphic novel-style book which tells the story of Scotland's history in a new way. Telling Scotland's Story has been written by Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments (RCAHMS) communications manager James Crawford and is illustrated by Scottish comic artist Sha Nazir, following collaboration by members of SCARF, a research community of experts studying Scotland's past.
The book tells a series of surprising and unusual stories from the past, including:
- The Storegga Tsunami – a giant tidal wave that hit Scotland 8,000 years ago and caused the greatest natural disaster that Northern Europe has ever known. It coincided with a period of extreme weather patterns and rising sea levels, and was part of a process that saw an entire landscape submerged beneath the North Sea. The secrets of this lost land – known as ‘Doggerland ‘ by archaeologists, and once a rich hunting ground which stretched from Aberdeen to Denmark – are now being revealed.
- The so-called Frankenstein’s Mummies of South Uist – two mummified skeletons found buried under a Bronze Age House. Experts are continuing to puzzle over the fact that DNA testing revealed each of the skeletons – which are more than 3,500 years old – are made up of the body parts of at least two separate people.
- The emerging story of a whole landscape – many parts of Scotland are now being laser-scanned from the air, allowing archaeologists to literally ‘see’ through forests and crops to discover the remains of manmade structures such as walls, earthworks, burial mounds and cairns that are overgrown or hidden underground. They are then recreating these lost landscapes using 3D computer modelling.
- The trail of the Buannachan – the Gaelic name for the mercenaries who, in the 15th C, were one of Scotland’s greatest exports, travelling around Europe in their ocean-going long ships and selling their fighting prowess to the highest bidder. Archaeologists are now attempting to follow this mercenary trail across Europe.
Launching the guide, Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs said: 'The creation of this strategic research framework for archaeology is an excellent example of collaboration across the historic environment sector. The work draws on the Society’s extensive network of fellowship and beyond: to consolidate existing knowledge; to identify future research questions; and to communicate knowledge and understanding to wider sections of society.
I recognise the power of the historic environment to inspire, to educate, and to enhance our lives in many different ways. By providing information in a different format, targeting a different audience, I hope this publication will also whet the public’s appetite for using ScARF and its outputs - thereby unlocking the science and knowledge for a broader audience.'
Sha Nazir, the artist who worked on Telling Scotland’s Story added: 'Graphic art is a perfect way of presenting key moments in Scottish history. Visual storytelling was one of the first methods our earliest ancestors used to communicate thoughts and ideas – think of prehistoric cave paintings or Egyptian hieroglyphics. You could say that comic books and archaeology have been linked together from the start. The new stories emerging from the research were a wonderful inspiration for me as an artist.'
To view the book, visit the RCAHMS website. Copies of the book will also be distributed to local authorities, museums and heritage centre.
Sign up now for our FREE e-newsletter for more news stories, sneak previews, exclusive content and special offers.