Maps and graphics show the trade by boat between Dal Riada and France. We know the Scotti used wine, salt, glass and red and purple dyes. The Dal Riadans worshipped pagan gods and killed animals as part of their religious rituals. They celebrated festivals such as Samain and Beltane. Jewellery and weapons have been found in watery places, encouraging historians to believe they were offered as gifts to water spirits. This way of life changed with the arrival of Christianity. Monks led by Columba arrived by boat from Ireland and built a monastery on the island of Iona. They lived in wooden huts and farmed, wrote manuscripts and prayed.
Ask pupils to research the festivals of Samain and Beltane and write short, illustrated accounts of each. Discuss the changes in the Scotti way of life after the arrival of Christianity. Research the daily life of a monk at this time. Explain how archaeologists and historians have to speculate about the evidence they find, for example, the discovery of jewellery and weapons in watery places has made them believe they were gifts for water sprites. Discuss with pupils the importance of the written word as a more accurate source of evidence.