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Story-telling in song

The Brothers Gillespie have composed music inspired by the discovery of the Scottish soldiers.

In this video The Brothers Gillespie sing one of their songs inspired by the discovery of the Scottish soldiers. You can find the lyrics on the PDF below.

Archaeology and music have long been associated. There are many songs and album covers creatively inspired by archaeological sites such as Glastonbury Tor and stone circles such as Callanish in the Outer Hebrides. Musicians like Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones have declared their love for the subject; Julian Cope apparently recorded part of one his albums inside the chamber of a Neolithic long barrow. The fields around Stonehenge once hosted the largest free pop festival in Europe between 1974 and 1984 and there is even a 1996 album entitled ‘Archaeology’ by the Beatles parody band The Rutles. Many more people will have become aware of archaeology through this kind of tangential promotion than have ever read an excavation report.

Sound, images and broader cultural links to time, identity, deity, landscape, folklore and tradition – all these themes link archaeology to musicians. It is, however, much rarer to find music inspired by specific archaeological discoveries, although there are in fact recent examples of this. ‘The Chalk Legend’, an oratorio in two parts composed for the London 2012 Festival for Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, was inspired by the discovery of Viking burials near Weymouth in Dorset. In the case of the Scottish soldiers, the folk duo The Brothers Gillespie, Sam and James, were inspired to write a selection of pieces after they heard about the story. Theirs is a sound rooted in the tradition of the troubadour with lyrics which draw on the power of place and the power of story-telling.

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Archaeology and the Battle of Dunbar 1650: From the Scottish Battlefield to the New World

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