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Public exhibition on the vegetation history of Bennachie

A new exhibition at the Bennachie Visitor Centre sheds light on Mons Graupius (AD 83). After research reconstructed Bennachie vegetation since Mesolithic times to the present day.

A new exhibition has opened to the public at the Bennachie Visitor Centre near Inverurie, northeast Scotland, to showcase a palaeoecological study undertaken on ‘the hill’ by researchers from the School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen.

The display features posters containing the results from pollen analysis and radiocarbon dating of a peat core collected from blanket moorland on the saddle between the peaks of Mither Tap and Oxen Craig. The investigation has allowed changes in vegetation at Bennachie to be reconstructed over the last 7,000 years, from the Mesolithic through to the present day. Special emphasis is placed on events during the first Millennium AD.

This encompasses events surrounding the battle of Mons Graupius (AD 83) – at which an invading Roman army defeated a larger native Caledonian force (the battlefield has never been found, but it is rumoured to be within sight of Bennachie) – and the enigmatic Pictish period (ca AD 400-900), when the hillfort on Mither Tap appears to have been occupied. The investigation connects the research programmes Pathways to Power and Fragility, Adaptation and Resilience to Climate Change (FAR), under the University’s strategic theme of The North.

The poster exhibition will run throughout June 2015 and is open daily between 10:00-17:00. Entry is free, although there is a small charge for car parking.

Directions to the Visitor Centre can be found on the Forestry Commission Scotland website (

In connection with the exhibition, there will also be a ‘walk and talk’ to the summit of Bennachie on Saturday 20 June (13:00-16:00, departing from the Back O’Bennachie car park), which will include a chance to see peat coring equipment in use. All are welcome to attend.

For further details, please contact the Bennachie Centre (01467 811470;, or Dr Ed Schofield, Department of Geography of Environment, University of Aberdeen ( 

Author: Dr J E Schofield

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