Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Dr. Andrew Cain

Second Advisor

Dr. Diane Conlin

Third Advisor

Dr. James Walker


The historical narrative as it exists today maintains the precedent of excluding accounts of powerful women. This lack of gender representation is present across geographic regions and eras of human existence and is often the product of the passage of time, as the transmission of literary, archaeological, and oral records is an incomplete process. However, this loss of powerful and autonomous women is also an outcome of bias within scholarship, both ancient and modern. Historians are products of societal paradigms and these intrinsic biases and beliefs shape the recounting of historical events. Thus, the institution and continuation of patriarchal systems of oppression have disregarded women from the historical record.

This undergraduate thesis attempts to reinvestigate the power dynamics of ancient Scottish women within the historical narrative in order to counter the gendered biases of previous historiography and research. Through the coalescence of historical and archaeological evidence across the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age, the Roman occupation of the British Isles, and the early medieval kingships of the Picts, a new interpretation of Scottish women can be offered. Scottish women, from the foundations of Celtic civilization through the institution of Christianity, transcended the oppressive influences of external patriarchal systems and maintained positions of reverence, power, and autonomy throughout the historical record.