History Links Dornoch: Place, Identity and Dead Men

History Links Dornoch is a fascinating blog focusing on the history, heritage and physical environment of a particular district in Scotland. I’ve reblogged their stuff before, and I’ve always found it fascinating especially the layers of history they get into. This piece centers on cemeteries in the Scottish Highlands, and how, amazingly, even in death they reflect the masculinity and culture of the Highlands. This is really thought-provoking stuff, and with beautiful photos to boot. Great job!

Highland men do not suffer from lack of stereotypes. According to anti-Jacobite propagandists they were barbaric; according to Walter Scott they were noble; and according to Diana Gabaldon, they were rugged and sexy. I have always enjoyed exploring graveyards, but recently I wondered if the headstones could tell me something about how Highland men thought of themselves. Indeed they can! I have identified how men’s identities were based on religious faith, on their emotional relationships, on their social status, and on place.

Other than his name, dates, and family, the most common detail on men’s gravestones is where he was from. By the nineteenth century the clan system was long gone. However, men continued to have strongly localised identities, associated with kin and with place.

On the west coast of Lewis…

Source: Place, Identity and Dead Men

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