1200-years-old Pictish stone with a dragon depiction found

A carved stone known as a Pictish stone slab with a depiction of a dragon-like beast was found on Orkney’s (North Scotland) east mainland coast earlier this year. Now the artwork has been rescued and analysed.

The Pictish stone (by BBC News)
The Pictish stone (by BBC News)

The carved stone slab was rescued by workers from Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology and Historic Environment Scotland as it was initially discovered in an eroded cliff face. This is the third stone of this type to be found on the Orkney Islands.

The discovery of the stone (by BBC News)
The discovery of the stone – back of the stone (by BBC News)

Experts believe that the depictions on the stone date to the 8th century and have been made during the early Christian period on Orkney. According to the archaeologists the relic’s surface is weathered but still clearly showing an exquisite design. The ornament is in form of a carved cross flanked by the dragon-beast. On the reverse side another Pictish beast design is presented with an open beak grasping what could be the remains of a staff.

Detail of the Pictish stone (by BBC News)
Detail of the Pictish stone depicting the dragon-beast (by BBC News)

Such decorated Pictish stones are commonly known and associated with areas of the Scottish Highlands and Aberdeenshire. So far only two have been discovered in Orkney. The stone is now scheduled for conservation and possible future display.

3D scan of the back showing the head of the beast in the lower part (by Heritage Daily)
3D scan of the back showing the head of the beast in the lower part (by Heritage Daily)

(after BBC News & Heritage Daily)

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