Above the Law: Dundee Law in the Iron Age

Kieran Baxter (Animator), Alice Watterson (Artist)

Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products


Interpretive film developed for the McManus Galleries for the Reflections on Celts exhibition. 
This film is a reconstruction of Dundee Law in the Iron Age, when a hillfort stood at the summit. The film was produced by the University of Dundee's 3DVisLab for the Reflections On Celts exhibition at The McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery & Museum.Hillforts are closely linked with Iron Age studies, though many are much older and were constructed over 3,000 years ago. They are enclosures built on hilltops and are highly visible monuments in the landscape. Numerous examples may be found in Tayside, but they are also found all over Britain and Europe.As such prominent landmarks, hillforts attracted antiquarian interest – in the 1750’s William Roy surveyed hillforts in the course of mapping Scotland for military roads. These early studies gave rise to several theories as to what hillforts were used for: tribal centres, defence or ritual. Modern excavations and techniques have not resolved these issues, though they have provided dates. Some forts show evidence of domestic life or specialist crafts such a metalworking, others show no sign of permanent dwellings. Though we do not know their exact purpose, hillforts were built by a population with a power structure that was able to bring together enough resources to undertake massive construction projects. Evidence of gifts or bribes of luxury items from the Romans are found at several sites. Many forts ended in spectacular fires, with their timber-laced walls set alight. This may have been a statement of power, whether from those who occupied the forts or their enemies.Some sites, such as Monifieth Laws and Hurly Hawkin in Angus were re- fortified in the Early Medieval period. And some, such as Dundee Law, were in use as fortifications even later.Reflections on Celts is a national partnership between National Museums Scotland and the British Museum featuring two Iron Age mirrors – the British Museum’s Holcombe mirror and National Museums Scotland’s Balmaclellan mirror. The exhibition is at The McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery & Museum until 26 March 2017.The Reflections on Celts tour is generously supported by the Dorset Foundation.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherLeisure and Culture Dundee
Media of outputFilm
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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  • Reflections on Celts

    Alice Watterson & Kieran Baxter


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