For example, the more than 40 year reign attributed to King Constantine III in the first half of the 10th century, compared with the relatively short reigns of his predecessors and successors.King Constantine is named in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle so there is little doubt that he did exist.This process of expanded information continues with the Chronicle of the Scots and Picts dated 1177, all of which include additional details about where the kings died and were buried, as well as some further family relationships.

As will be observed when studying this document, these different primary sources are mutually contradictory in many areas.

The major point of difference concerns the regnal years, which means that dating of the early Scottish kings is reliable only when it can be checked against outside sources such as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

No Scottish chronicles survive for this period and references to Scottish affairs in English chronicles are infrequent, although more information is included in Irish chronicles.

In addition, the earliest confirmed Scottish royal charter dates from the reign of King Duncan II at the end of the 11th century, in contrast to the comparative wealth of charter evidence which has survived for Anglo-Saxon England.

The obvious explanation is that the succession was claimed by the most powerful individual at the time, and that there was no particular pattern or custom which governed the right to the throne.

No evidence has been uncovered to support any hypothesis regarding any succession pattern of these early kings.

These burials are not mentioned in the 10th century Cronica but are first referred to in the Chronicle dated 1177, suggesting another case of information introduced into later documentation to reinforce the sense of continuity in early Scottish history.

Other details about the early kings which are contained in the later Scottish chronicles are also dubious.

He is named in the 10th century Cronica de Origine as successor to his maternal uncle King Aedh. If our hypothesis is correct, this omission may have been intentional as his relationship to his predecessor through the female line was considered incompatible with the idea of male-line royal continuity.