Amberley Publishing, £20
Review Andrew Tibbs
This book offers an alternative view on the well-trodden path of attempting to identify the site of the fabled last stand of the Caledonii. Offering a new analysis of the earliest Roman invasion, Forder re-examines the extent of the occupation, arguing that the dating of some sites is flawed, and suggesting possible locations for the battle.
On occasions, the evidence underpinning Forder’s assertions is lacking: for example, his claim that Kintore camp dates to the late 2nd-century occupation, when dating from the ovens there gives a late 1st-century date. However, he undertakes thorough analysis of the Classical sources describing the Flavian invasion, and attempts to contrast this with the archaeological record, making valid observations in the process. His arguments could have been strengthened by discussing previous research (such as Hanson 1987 and Maxwell 1990) into Mons Graupius, and how it relates to his own theories. Nonetheless, this is an interesting read, giving a new perspective on this occasionally controversial area of Scottish history.