>This is a huge topic that has only really started to be fully appreciated relatively recently.
It sits within the landscape of the forms of social & economic organisation that the islands have witnessed during the past 9000 years of human habitation.
Scotland’s Rural Past is a 5-year project that ends in 2011 ‘which supports local communities across Scotland to investigate deserted rural settlements dating from the medieval and post-medieval periods’. http://www.scotlandsruralpast.org.uk/
RCAHMS Interpretation Officer Brian Wilkinson has written ‘ A Study of Turf: Historic Rural Settlements in Scotland and Iceland’ which explains how the so-called ‘traditional’ island blackhouse is actually an adaptation of an earlier form that used turf for its exterior walls and was, in fact, technologically superior to the more modern, ‘improved’ version.
An archaeological reconstruction of one of the Icelandic types of Turf House was recently completed and its story can be read here.
As I said at the start, this is a huge topic that is still in its infancy and I am sure that the closing conference of Scotland’s Rural Past on the 18th of June 2011in Birnam will generate much interest.