General > EARLIEST EVIDENCE OF SETTLEMENT IN TEALING
EARLIEST EVIDENCE OF SETTLEMENT IN TEALING

The earliest evidence of settlement in Tealing is the earth-house in the field at Tealing Home farm. It's one of the largest of such structures found in the north of Scotland. They are often also known as Eirde houses, Picts' houses or Weems. The Tealing earth-house probably dates to 100 or 200 AD. Not long before that, Scotland had started to come out of the Iron Age with the rest of Europe between 27 BC and AD 68, when the Romans brought literacy and a radical new way of life to Britain.

When discovered in 1871, it contained a range of artefacts on the floor of the structure, including pottery, bronze rings, several saddle querns (used for grinding grain) and a few fragments of Roman pottery and glass. Historic Scotland maintains Tealing souterrain and advises that it would have been used for the storage of grains and other foodstuffs. Its size is such that it may have served several local farming communities or have been used to store grain destined for the Roman Army. The settlers most probably lived alongside the earth-house in a timber thatched building above ground. So, if we accept that the earth-house is the first evidence of group settlement in the area, our village is almost two thousand years old!

What was going on in Tealing over the next few hundred years is a bit of a mystery. We know that Tealing is within the area that was ruled by the Picts, the group of tribal peoples known to be living north of the Forth, and throughout what is now the north of Scotland, from circa 100AD to the mid-ninth century. So the people who lived alongside Tealing earth-house and elsewhere in this area at that time were almost certainly Picts.

What's a bit puzzling about that is that, if the earth-house as suspected by Historic Scotland, provided grain for the Roman Army, how can that be when we also know the Picts in Angus were fiercely hostile to the Romans. Did the Romans take Tealing earth-house by force? We will never know.

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