About our staff
Mr Stratford Halliday
I studied archaeology under Richard Atkinson at Cardiff University 1972-6 and having graduated first worked for Colin Burgess in Newcastle before being appointed in 1977 to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Field Survey, a project funded by the then Inspectorate of Ancient Monuments of the Scottish Development Department and managed by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS). This project was absorbed into RCAHMS in 1981, and thereafter I variously served as a Field Investigator and Project Manager, latterly directing the archaeological survey progamme until 2006 and thereafter developing survey policy.
Having started out as a Border Counties prehistorian, I have become a national landscape historian with wide-ranging experience and knowledge of monuments and landscapes throughout Scotland and dating from early prehistory to the present day. My appointment to the Atlas of Hillforts in Britain and Ireland project is in some senses a return to my roots, to work through our understanding of the classifications and records of defended settlement earthworks, so many of which are concentrated in the Border Counties.
Having previously served on the Council for the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland I sit on its publications committee as a co-opted member.
Summary of research interestsPlaces:
- Britain & Ireland
- Landscapes & Monuments
- Early Historic
My research interests are principally focused on Scotland and trying to pick apart the record of settlement and agriculture in the Scottish landscape through the archaeological record and palaeo-environmental analyses. There has been a continuous interplay between survival, preservation and destruction through human and natural agency which is still imperfectly understood, and a strand of my research has been to explore this issue through the RCAHMS survey publications that I have edited and contributed to covering North-east and South-east Perth (RCAHMS 1990; 1994), Eastern Dumfriesshire (1997), Menstrie Glen (RCAHMS 2001) and Donside in Aberdeenshire (RCAHMS 2007). Other landscapes I have worked in range from the detailed mapping of the Small Isles, revealing traces of Neolithic settlements on Canna, to the survey of the mineral extraction field of the Muirkirk Ironworks, this latter demonstrating the vital role of archaeological survey in understanding aspects of our industrial history.
Over recent years the character of the Bronze Age landscape has been my primary focus and the last RCAHMS volume I edited researched one particular group of its monuments, the recumbent stone circles of the North-east (Welfare 2011). This last volume also reflects a wider interest in the antiquarian record and the ways our predecessors recorded and understood the past.
The recumbent stone circle at Stonehead, Aberdeenshire.
Current research activities
I am currently preparing a review of the impact of commercial archaeology on Bronze Age settlement studies in Scotland, and also working on two antiquarian papers, one concerning Robert Shearer, a Caithness antiquary who seems to have provided some of the impetus to Joseph Anderson’s archaeological research that saw him installed as Keeper of the National Museum of Antiquities in 1869, and the other on the evolution of the depiction of ancient Scottish earthworks since the mid 19th century.
The Atlas of Hillforts in Britain and Ireland
(Publications since 2000) Halliday, S P 2000 Hut-circle settlements in the Scottish landscape, Northern Archaeology, 17/18 (1999), 49-65. Halliday, S P 2002 Settlement, Territory and Landscape: the later prehistoric landscape in the light of the survey of Eastern Dumfriesshire, Trans Dumfries & Galloway Nat Hist Antiq Soc, lxxvi (2002), 91-106. Gannon, A R and Halliday, S P 2002 The archaeology of Canna and Sanday, in J L Campbell, Canna, the Story of a Hebridean Island, 4th ed. (H Cheape ed.) 2002, xxii-xxix. Halliday, S P 2001 Rig and Furrow in Scotland, in Barber, J (ed.) 2001, Guidelines for the Preservation of Areas of Rig and Furrow in Scotland, Scottish Trust for Archaeological Research, 10-20. Halliday, S P 2003 Rig-and-furrow in Scotland, in Govan, S (ed.) 2003, Medieval or Later Rural Settlement in Scotland: 10 Years On, Historic Scotland: Edinburgh, 69-82. Halliday, S P 2006 Into the dim light of history – more of the same or all change?, in Woolf, A (ed.) 2006, Landscape and Environment in Dark Age Scotland, St John’s House Papers No. 11, University of St Andrews, 11-27. Halliday, S P 2006 Prehistoric and Roman Borders, 10-17 in Cruft, K, Dunbar, J and Fawcett, R 2006, The Borders, Pevsner Architectural Guides, Buildings of Scotland. Yale: London. Halliday, S P 2007 Unenclosed Roundhouses in Scotland: occupation, abandonment, and the character of settlement, in Burgess, C, Topping, P and Lynch, F (eds) 2007, Beyond Stonehenge:Essays on the Bronze Age in Honour of Colin Burgess, Oxbow: Oxford, 49-56. Halliday, S P 2007 The Later Prehistoric Landscape, in RCAHMS 2007, In the Shadow of Bennachie; a field archaeology of Donside, Aberdeenshire. Halliday, S P and Fraser, I 2007 The Early Medieval Landscape, in RCAHMS 2007, In the Shadow of Bennachie; a field archaeology of Donside, Aberdeenshire. Halliday, S P and Ralston, I B M 2009 How many hillforts are there in Scotland?, in Cooney, G, Becker, K, Coles, J, Ryan, M and Sievers, S (eds) 2009 Relics of Old Decency: archaeological studies in later prehistory. Festscrift for Barry Raftery, Wordwell: Dublin, 457-69. Halliday, S P 2011 Pattern, Perception and Preconception: recognising regionality in Scottish prehistory, in Jones, A et al (eds) 2011 Beyond the Core, Oxbow: Oxford, 19-32. Halliday, S P and Fraser, I 2011 The Early Medieval Landscape of Donside, Aberdeenshire, in Driscoll, S T, Geddes, J and Hall, M A 2011 (eds) 2011 Pictish Progress: New Studies on Northern Britain in the Early Middle Ages, Brill: Leiden & Boston, 307-33. Halliday, S P 2012 Prehistoric and Roman, in Riches, A, Ayrshire, Pevsner Architectural Guides, Buildings of Scotland. Yale: London.
Royal Commission Volumes edited:− RCAHMS 1990 North-east Perth: an archaeological landscape. HMSO: Edinburgh. RCAHMS 1994 South-east Perth: an archaeological landscape. HMSO: Edinburgh. RCAHMS 1997 Eastern Dumfriesshire: an archaeological landscape. HMSO: Edinburgh. RCAHMS 2001 Well Sheltered, Well Watered. RCAHMS: Edinburgh. RCAHMS 2007 In the Shadow of Bennachie; a field archaeology of Donside, Aberdeenshire, RCAHMS: Edinburgh. Welfare, A T 2011 Great Crowns of Stone: the recumbent stone circles of north-east Scotland, RCAHMS: Edinburgh.