Pictish Carved Stone, Aberlemno

Pictish Carved Stone, Aberlemno, Scotland

This evening, I am focusing on Scotland’s considerable heritage of carved Pictish era stones which can be found dotted around the country in various places including roadsides, derelict/redundant churches, museums and in the open.

The Picts were the occupants of what is now Scotland. They may have originated from northern Germany and appear to have been well established by the 1st century BC. It was the Picts (or painted people) who encountered and sometimes confronted the Romans from the 1st century AD onwards. Originally the Picts seem to have been divided into many tribes but by the 3rd century AD the Romans recorded two principal confederations known as the Caledonii and Maetae. The Picts were eventually subsumed by the invading Scots (who migrated from Ireland) by the 9th century AD.

Our knowledge of the Picts is extremely limited because they appear to have left no written language. However, we have inherited a good collection of impressive stone carvings spanning the introduction of Christianity which are known as Symbol Stones which feature carvings of birds, animals, combs, mirrors and religious scenes from the Old Testament. These carvings were made over a period of hundreds of years and reflect the melting pot of cultural influences including British, Viking, and Irish. Unfortunately, the meanings of the various symbols have been lost and we can only guess at their relevance to the people of the time.

Image above is of a carved stone close to the road at Aberlemno in eastern Scotland. Here is a video clip of another stone nearby.

The first set of images below show carved stones  at Govan Old Church near Glasgow and date from the 9th-11th centuries AD and suggest that Govan was at the centre of a power base.

Pictish Carved Stone, Govan

Pictish Carved Stone, Govan, Scotland


Pictish Carved Stone, Govan

Pictish Carved Stone, Govan, Scotland


Sarcophagus, Govan Old Church

Sarcophagus, Govan Old Church, Scotland

This stone stands on the open (protected by a perspex screen) near Pitlochry in Central Scotland.

Dunfallandy Carved Pictish Stone

Dunfallandy Carved Pictish Stone, Scotland

This is the famous Dupplin Cross  at Dunning, also in Central Scotland. Again, there are strong suggestions of a local Pictish power base in the area. Incredibly, the stone stood out in the open with no protection from the elements for over 1000 years but remains in excellent condition.

Dupplin Cross, Dunning

Dupplin Cross, Dunning, Scotland

This stone sits in the centre of a derelict church in eastern Scotland,not far from Glamis Castle.

Carved Pictish Stone, Eassie

Carved Pictish Stone, Eassie, Scotland

The final two images are from a museum in Meigle, Central Scotland. The concentration of stones here suggests another important power base of around 1000 years ago.

Carved Pictish Stone, Meigle

Carved Pictish Stone, Meigle, Scotland

Carved Pictish Stone, Meigle

Carved Pictish Stone, Meigle, Scotland


Here is a video clip of the Barochan Cross in Paisley Abbey. This may date from the 8th century.

Finally, this video clip  shows a small collection of carved stones at Inchinnan near Glasgow.