Saturday, August 2, 2014

An invitation to discover the Northern Picts

The University of Aberdeen Northern Picts project along with Tarbat Discovery Centre are inviting members of the public to visit two of their excavations in Easter Ross this summer.

Cnoc Tigh Dun a probable Iron Age site near the village of Portmahomack is open on Sunday 29th June and Tarlogie Dun north west of Tain, a monumental Iron Age roundhouse, on Sunday 20th July. Tours will run on each day every hour between 10am-3pm.

The Tarbat Discovery Centre is also hosting a series of talks and free workshops during June and July to learn more about archaeological techniques such as identifying animal bones, recording artefacts and how to investigate the landscape using online resources.

The Northern Picts

Around 2000 years ago, small-scale tribal societies were beginning to transform into medieval kingdoms. These changes laid the foundations for the modern nation states of Europe. The Pictish Kingdoms that emerged in northern Scotland from 400 – 900 AD were important political players both regionally and on a European scale. They spanned an area from mainland north-east Scotland to the Shetland and Orkney Isles, but the late 9th and 10th centuries saw Viking incursions into their lands and the rise of Gaelic kingship. The Picts were eventually absorbed into the greater entity known as Alba.

Kingdom of Fortriu

The most powerful Pictish kingdom appears to have been Fortriu which was originally thought to be located in Perthshire, central Scotland, but recent work by historian Alex Woolf of St. Andrews University, has identified it further north, within the Moray Firth area. However, little is known about the Pictish northern kingdoms and as a result a project led by Dr. Gordon Noble of the University of Aberdeen aims to track their rise and fall through a sustained programme of archaeological and historical research.

Dr. Noble commented, “Our project combines fieldwork research investigating the emergence of the early kingdoms of Scotland with initiatives that will allow the Discovery Centre to continue to showcase research on the Picts and the heritage of the Tarbat peninsula to a wide audience.”

Past Horizons. 2014. “An invitation to discover the Northern Picts”. Past Horizons. Posted: June 25, 2014. Available online:

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