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Pictish Stones By Dr Barbara Swann

January 2023

Pictish Stones By Dr Barbara Swann

On the 25th January 2023, Friends committee member, Barbara Swann will talk to us about Pictish stones.

The Pict people lived, for the most part, in eastern Scotland. Though they left no written record they are mentioned in other texts between 300AD and 900AD.

They left behind them over 35o carved stones. These stones depicted unexplained symbols, mythical creatures and and animals along with hunting and battle scenes and images relating to Christianity.

The carvings developed from simple incised images on unworked stone, through to slabs bearing intricate carvings and freestanding crosses and grave-covers.

This talk represents an excellent opportunity to learn more about the Picts and their baffling, beautiful, intricate, extraordinary and sometimes amusing carvings.

Pictish Stones By Dr Barbara Swann - A Pictish grave stone

Pictish Stones By Dr Barbara Swann – A Pictish grave stone


A bit about the Picts

From encyclopeadia Britannica online:

It’s probable that the name Pict is derived from the Latin picti – meaning painted. They’re one of an ancient people who inhabited what we now know as as eastern and northeastern Scotland – from Caithness to Fife.

The Picts are of uncertain origin though some evidence suggests they descended from pre-Celtic aborigines. Some linguistic evidence suggests they spoke a Celtic language.

The tribe first came to notice in AD 297, when a Roman writer spoke of the ‘Picts and Irish (Scots) attacking Hadrian’s Wall.

Thus began almost continuous warfare with the Romans during their occupation. By the 7th century a united ‘Pict-Land’ had formed and had already been penetrated by Christianity.

In 843, Kenneth 1 MacAlpin, king of the Scots (centred in Argyll and Bute) also became King of the Picts. Hence their two lands united in a new kingdom of Alba. At length that evolved into Scotland.

Pictish art

The Pictish kingdom is notable for the stylized but vigorous beauty of its carved memorial stones and crosses. The round stone towers known as brochs, or Pictish towers, and the underground stone houses called weems, or Picts’ houses do though both predate this kingdom.




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Date(s) - 25/01/2023
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm


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