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Bronze Age lunula

Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology

The Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology section looks after the archaeological collections from the first human settlement of Europe during the Palaeolithic up to the end of the Roman period.

Over this vast time-frame and sizeable collection, our focus is on Scotland set within a European context. Highlights include the finds from the famous Neolithic village of Skara Brae on Orkney, a wealth of Bronze Age gold jewellery, the fabulous pony cap from Torrs decorated with Celtic art, and rich remains of the Roman occupation of Scotland such as magnificent helmets with face masks. Our wide-ranging research includes the material culture of prehistory, the puzzling habit of hoarding valued items, the effect of culture contacts such as the Roman invasion, and the history of archaeology.

The section also houses the museum’s commercial post-excavation service, providing specialist analysis and reporting of artefacts found on excavations across Scotland and beyond.

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Meet the Team

Dr Fraser Hunter
Interim Keeper and Principal Curator of Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology

Responsible for: The Prehistory section, Iron Age and Roman collections.

Research interests: Iron Age and Roman material culture; decorative metalwork and Celtic art; jet and related materials; interactions between Rome and the indigenous population.


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Dr Hugo Anderson-Whymark
Senior Curator, Early Prehistory

Responsible for: Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic collections.

Research interests: Upper Palaeolithic to Neolithic material culture, especially lithics; the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition; mobility and temporality of settlement in prehistory; deposition practices and structured deposition; rock art and associated artefact assemblages, the post-medieval gun flint industry in Britain.


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Dr Matthew Knight
Senior Curator, Early Prehistory

Responsible for: Chalcolithic and Bronze Age collections

Research interests: The production, use and deposition of Bronze Age material culture particularly metalwork; the deliberate destruction of Bronze Age objects; the relationship between memory and material culture in prehistory.


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Jim Wilson
Assistant Curator, Early Prehistory

Responsible for: Co-ordinating and supervising access to the Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology collections by visiting scholars, students and TV crews; maintenance of our displays in the Early People Gallery at National Museum of Scotland; facilitating temporary loan requests from borrowing museums for exhibitions.


Bethany Simpson
Assistant Curator, Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology

Responsible for: Supporting curatorial activity across the Prehistoric and Roman section, with particular responsibility for the registration and integration of Roman and Iron age assemblages in the collection and assisting with enquiries relating to the Roman and Iron Age collections.

Research interests: Roman religion, religious practices in Roman Britain and the impact of interaction between Roman and indigenous communities on these practices and their expression in material culture.


Dr Gemma Cruickshanks
Post-excavation Officer

Responsible for: Post-excavation projects – coordinating specialist work and writing reports.

Research interests: Material culture c.1000 BC – AD 1000, particularly the development of ironworking and iron objects throughout this period.


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