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"Tha e air a dhol don fhaochaig – He has gone to the whelk shell" – Inequality in the Land of the Gael.

Author(s): Kevin James Grant

Year: 2013

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Poverty is relative. In the 17th century, Gaels of Scotland's Highlands and Islands inhabited a surprisingly equal society. Many Chiefs and most junior nobles in the clan system lived in dwellings little grander than that of the average Highlander, with equally few possessions. More importantly, all Gaels were inheritors of an ancient culture of aristocratic origin to which they had rights of access. Few individuals had much; but fewer had nothing.

During the course of the 18th and 19th centuries this position of economic and cultural equality was eroded to the extent that ordinary members of Gaelic society came to be seen as desperately poor as the upper orders of their society became more remote. As a result of this new relationship, physical hunger was coupled with an intellectual and cultural hunger. This paper aims to explore how this increasing inequality played out across the physical and cultural landscape of Gaeldom.

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"Tha e air a dhol don fhaochaig – He has gone to the whelk shell" – Inequality in the Land of the Gael.. Kevin James Grant. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428522)


Culture Gaelic Landscape

Geographic Keywords
United Kingdom Western Europe

Temporal Keywords
17th-19th centuries

Spatial Coverage

min long: -8.158; min lat: 49.955 ; max long: 1.749; max lat: 60.722 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 409

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America