Scot roots are not Irish

June 8, 2001

The Scots are Scottish after all. A study has thrown doubt over the long-held belief that the Scots were originally an Irish tribe that invaded the British mainland 1,500 years ago.

Research by Ewan Campbell, lecturer in early medieval archaeology at Glasgow University, has found no reliable evidence that invaders founded the kingdom of D l Riata in western Scotland in the early 6th century, which expanded to conquer Picts and Britons across the country.

Dr Campbell believes it is more likely that the Scots were an indigenous, Gaelic-speaking people with strong cultural connections with the inhabitants of northeastern Antrim.

There was no invasion and no mass migration, only myths invented by a ruling elite to boost their ancestors' reputation.

The research, published in the archaeological journal Antiquity, will add to the debate about Scottish identity. Dr Campbell said: "There is no evidence for such an invasion, it is better to look for a simpler explanation." He said there was no archaeological trace of substantial movement of people into Argyll and that the scant historical evidence reflected politically motivated rewriting of history.

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