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Surveying Scotland's urban past: the pre-modern burgh

Faculty Advisor




boroughs, urban history, Scottish history, historiography, interdisciplinary approach to knowledge, historical source material, history, Scotland

Abstract (summary)

Since the early 20th century, much of the urban history of medieval and early modern Scotland has focused on the purpose behind, and functionality of, the pre-modern burgh. As a result of contemporary urban concerns, in the 1970s scholars began to ask new questions of the surviving documentary sources and engage cartographic, geographical and archaeological evidence. As a result of newer interdisciplinary approaches to the field, the 1980s and 1990s witnessed a growing interest in pre-modern burghs as more than trade hubs and administrative centres; they were increasingly seen as places where individuals lived, worked and prayed. But while this 'urban aspect of local history' received attention from urban historians of Scotland, very little research has been undertaken in the areas of urbanization, urban networks and urban hierarchies since two important articles were published in 1989 and 1992. This article surveys the development of the field of pre-modern Scottish urban history and traces the impact made by other disciplines.

Publication Information

J.R.D. Falconer, "Surveying Scotland’s Urban Past: The Pre-Modern Burgh. “History Compass Vol. 9, No. 1 (2011), pp. 34-44.


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