Archaeologists find rare Pictish stone in Scotland

(ORDO NEWS) — Archaeologists have unearthed in Scotland the remains of an 11th-12th-century building, in the paving of which Pictish stone was used.

About 1.7 meters long, this rare find was carved with classic abstract Pictish symbols such as triple ovals, double discs and a crescent moon. Scientists noted that only about 200 such megaliths are currently known. This was reported in a press release from the University of Aberdeen.

During the British Iron Age and the early Middle Ages, the territory of modern Scotland was inhabited by the Picts (literally – “painted or tattooed people”). For the first time, this group of Celtic-speaking tribes under this name is mentioned by the Roman historian Eumenius, who reported on their attacks on Hadrian’s Wall.

The Picts were pastoralists and farmers with a fairly developed level of crafts: metalworking, leather dressing, weaving and carving in stone and bone.

In the early Middle Ages, these tribes adopted Christianity and founded their own state, which reached its peak in the 7th-8th centuries. However, in the end, in the 9th-10th centuries, the Picts were assimilated by the Scandinavians and Scots.

One of the most striking monuments of Pictish culture is the monumental stone stelae, which were probably created in the 6th-9th centuries. They are megaliths of various shapes, on which ornaments and drawings were carved on various subjects.

In 2010, British scientists presented the results of a study of symbols found on Pictish stones. They came to the conclusion that these images represent a previously unknown primitive script, which has not yet been deciphered.

Archaeologists find rare Pictish stone in Scotland 2

Archaeologists from the University of Aberdeen, led by Gordon Noble, conducted a geophysical survey in the small Scottish village of Aberlemno, which is known for three large Pictish stones decorated with ornaments. This work allowed scientists to identify anomalies that could be associated with the ancient settlement, so they laid a small excavation.

As a result of the study, archaeologists discovered a rare Pictish stone with symbols carved on it, the length of which is about 1.7 meters.

According to Noble, only about 200 such finds are known. Sometimes such stones are found by farmers plowing their fields, or builders during the construction of roads, and the context of such artifacts remains unclear.

Scholars have noted that the stone features classic abstract Pictish symbols, including triple ovals, a crest, a mirror, a crescent and double discs. Some images overlap each other, which, according to the researchers, indicates different times of their creation.

Noble reported that the stone was reused during the construction of an 11th-12th-century building that was erected directly above the settlement of the Pictish period. The area around Aberlemno seems to have been an important place for the Picts for a long time.


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