Dingwall - A Pictish Stone

Attribution: Image by indianabones from Pixabay (A cairn of stones)

In August 2019 the news broke that a carved Pictish stone had been discovered at the site of an early Christian church in the Dingwall area.

The stone, thought to have been carved around 1200 years ago, is decorated with a number of Pictish symbols and is likely to have measured more than two metres in height when originally carved. It has been described as bearing two massive beasts “unlike anything found on any other Pictish stone” and has lain on the ground since at least the 1700s when it was reused as a grave marker..

While undertaking a survey of the church site earlier in 2019, Anne Macinnes of the North of Scotland Archaeological Society (NOSAS) was clearing vegetation, saw the carving and recognised its importance. Her find was subsequently verified by archaeologists from Highland Council and Historic Environment Scotland.

Gravestone replacing the Pictish stone. [Photo courtesy of NOSAS]

Gravestone replacing the Pictish stone

Attribution: NOSAS

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The Pictish stone had been used as a grave marker commemorating a McAulay family  and so NOSAS arranged to have a replica made and erected. This gained approval from Clan McAulay who gave a generous donation towards the project.

The inscription on the Gravestone reads:
Hugh McAulay
Alexander Mcaulay
January 2 1796

Pictish Stone in Location

The Pictish stone in situ

Attribution: NOSAS

This is a copy of the sketch created by Jim Buchanan to show the two faces of the Pictish Stone as it would have been when created. © NOSAS

Attribution: NOSAS

Above is a copy of the sketch created by Jim Buchanan to show the two faces of the Pictish Stone as it would have been when created. © NOSAS

Subsequently, the stone was removed from the site by specialist conservators in order to have it repaired, cleaned, recorded and mounted, prior to being put on permanent public display in Dingwall Museum.

Stone at the conservators

Attribution: NOSAS

The photograph shows the stone being carefully removed

Carefully removing the stone. [Photo: NOSAS]

Attribution: NOSAS

The stone at the conservators. [Photo: NOSAS]

Attribution: NOSAS

The two images above show the stone at the consevators

The Pictish Stone goes on Display in Dingwall Museum

Pictish stone at Dingwall Museum

Attribution: RCHS

The Pictish stone in November 2020 resting in what will be its permanent home in Dingwall Museum. Work on the display area continued during Covid-19 lockdown but prevented its unveiling and so it remains shrouded until circumstances change.

Unveiled at last,15 December 2020. [Photo RCHS]

Unveiled at last,15 December 2020.

Attribution: RCHS

Link to Evanton Oral History Project

The North of Scotland Archaeological Society (NOSAS) is a membership based voluntary group that seeks to encourage people of all ages to learn about and engage with the archaeology of the North of Scotland, to enjoy it and protect it for the future.

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