Our archaeological and Scottish collections encompass Scotland’s history from the Palaeolithic era to the present day.

This collection of over two million items includes some of our greatest treasures, from enigmatic Neolithic carvings to the famous Lewis chessmen, stunning Iron Age gold torcs to jewellery associated with Mary, Queen of Scots.

From life at war to the story of Scottish emigration, the Union of the Parliaments to Devolution, our Scottish history collections provide a comprehensive record of the life, times and achievements of the people of Scotland at home and abroad.

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The Jacobite challenge

Discover the story of the Jacobites and Prince Charles Edward Stewart, better known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, through key objects from the national collection.
Entrance to the National War Museum

National War Museum: Objects linked to Waterloo

A number of objects linked to Waterloo are permanently on show at the National War Museum.
Arthurs Seat Coffins 3

Arthur's Seat coffins

These miniature coffins are among the most popular and mysterious objects in the National Museum of Scotland. Discover more about their secrets here.
Ballachulish Figure

Ballachulish figure

Fertility figure or Iron Age goddess of the straits? This carved sculpture of a female, the oldest human figure found in Scotland, dates from around 600 BC, but its origins remain unknown.
Hilton of Cadboll stone

Early Medieval Scotland

The Early Medieval period (around AD 300 – 900) is a very important part of Scotland’s past. Coming just after the Romans left Britain and before the arrival of the Vikings, it was a time of great creativity in Scotland.
Mary, Queen of Scots © Blairs Museum Trust

Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary, Queen of Scots is one of the most famous yet enigmatic figures in Scottish history. Explore her dramatic story and separate out the facts from the myths that have built up around her.

Scottish History and Archaeology curators