Help Conserve and Re-Display a Newly Discovered Pictish Symbol Stone from Aberlemno, Angus, Scotland
In February 2022 a newly discovered Pictish Symbol Stone was uncovered and removed for conservation from Aberlemno, Angus. A team from the University of Aberdeen came upon the stone buried in a field while conducting surveys to try and build a greater understanding of the important Pictish landscape of Aberlemno, near Forfar. Aberlemno is already well known for its Pictish heritage thanks to it’s collection of unique Pictish standing stones the most famous of which, is a cross-slab that may depict scenes from a battle of vital importance to the creation of what would become Scotland - the Battle of Nechtansmere when the Picts defeated the Northumbrians allowing a powerful Pictish overkingdom to be established.
The archaeologists were conducting geophysics surveys of the ground early in 2021 in the village of Aberlemno in an effort to better understand the context and history of the existing stones. Deploying imaging equipment, they found anomalies which looked like evidence of a settlement. A small test pit was dug to try and establish whether the remains of any buildings might be present but to their surprise, the archaeologists came straight down onto a carved Pictish symbol stone, one of only around 200 known. The stone was part of the paving of a monumental building dating to the 11th-12th century AD. Under the building are settlement deposits that may date back to the Pictish period. The team returned in February 2022 to investigate further and to lift the stone for vital conservation work.
Now you can help fund the crucial conservation and the subsequent re-display of the stone. The stone has multiple Pictish symbols on it including a mirror, comb, double-disc and Z-Rod, Crescent and V-rod and triple ovals, part of an symbolic system that the Picts may have used to represent the identities of powerful rulers or individuals of status.
The fundraiser will allow conservators to clean, remove biological growth and fill the open joints of one side of the stone where natural bedding plans provide weaknesses that may delaminate over time. The redisplay of the stone will depend on the condition of the stone and which museum or curatorial body takes on the display of the stone, but the Pictish Arts Society and the University of Aberdeen are keen to work with stakeholders to see if the stone could be displayed outdoors and close to its findspot. In addition to conservation, the fundraiser will allow the construction of a support for the stone including bespoke steel fixings for indoor or outdoor display based on estimates of costs from qualified conservators and sculpture specialists.