The Joy of Museums

Finding Beauty & Meaning in Museums

Hilton of Cadboll Stone

Pictish Carved Stone (8704726114)

The Hilton of Cadboll Stone is a monumental stele, carved with symbols and designs discovered at Hilton of Cadboll, a village on the East coast of Scotland. It is a magnificent example of a Pictish cross-slabs and dates to about 800 AD. The Picts were a tribal confederation of people who lived in what is today eastern and northern Scotland during the Late Iron Age and Early Medieval periods.

The Picts were ethnolinguistically Celtic and this Pictish stones helps shed light on their culture. The stone was formerly near a chapel just north of the village. On the seaward-facing side is a Christian cross. At this time, Scotland was becoming Christian and sculptured stones like this one were created to celebrate the new religion.

On the landward facing side are secular depictions. Carved below the Pictish symbols is a hunting scene which includes a woman wearing a large brooch riding side-saddle. Carved from local sandstone, it displays sophisticated artistry and symbolism.

Remarkable ruins pl24 hilton of cadboll stone cordiner mazell

Engraving of Hilton of Cadboll Stone made in 1788

A modern reconstruction of the Hilton of Cadboll Stone can be seen near where the original stone was found at the edge of the village of Hilton of Cadboll, in Ross and Cromarty.

Essential Facts:

  • Title:                    Hilton of Cadboll Stone
  • Year:                    c.800 AD
  • Place Created:   Northern Scotland, then a heartland of the Picts.
  • Material:            Sandstone
  • Dimensions       Height 2.34m, length 0.18m, width 1.44m
  • Weight:              1.9 tonnes
  • Museum:           National Museum of Scotland

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“A good tale never tires in the telling.” Scottish Proverbs

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Photo Credit: 1) By dun_deagh (Pictish Carved Stone) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons 2) By painted by Charles Cordiner, engraved by Peter Mazell [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons