Picts

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Changing diets in Pictish Portmahomack

Isotopic analysis of skeletons excavated from a graveyard in the Scottish Highlands has revealed a story of changing diets among the Pictish and medieval communities at Portmahomack.

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The problem of the Picts

The Picts are a fascinating but archaeologically elusive people who thrived in parts of Scotland in the 4th to 10th centuries AD. What has recent research added to this often obscure picture? Gordon Noble reports.

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Current Archaeology 364

I hope you’re all well! It has been lovely hearing from so many of you over the past few weeks – what is clear during these ‘interesting times’ is that, although we’re currently apart, the archaeological world is still very much a community. Hopefully we will be together again soon – and while many heritage […]

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Rethinking Pictish symbols

Recent research on Pictish symbols has provided a new chronology for the carvings, transforming our understanding of their evolution.

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Medieval game time in Aberdeenshire

The search for the lost monastery where the Book of Deer – a tome containing the earliest surviving Gaelic writing – was written and illuminated – continued this summer. Digging in the walled garden of Pitfour Estate near Old Deer in Aberdeenshire, where the monastery is thought to have been located, the excavation uncovered a number of interesting finds. One of the most notable was a game board that may have been used to play the Norse strategy game hnefatafl.

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Raising a (Pictish) hand at the Knowe of Swandro

A Pictish coppersmith has left his prints – literally – on the remains of his workshop, recently excavated on Rousay, Orkney. This discovery was made at the Knowe of Swandro, a multiperiod site that includes a Neolithic chambered tomb as well as subsequent Iron Age, Pictish, Viking, and Norse settlements, but which is slowly slipping into the sea. In a race against the tide, the Swandro-Orkney Coastal Archaeology Trust, along with a host of partners, is working to excavate and record the site before it is too late.

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Current Archaeology 341

As I sat down to write this month’s ‘Welcome’, the internet was awash with images of Processions, a mass participatory artwork celebrating the centenary of voting rights being extended to (some) women in Britain. We explored the 1918 Representation of the People Act’s archaeological legacy in CA 336, and the anniversary also inspired a recent […]

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Unpicking Pictish Burghead

The Picts remain one of the more elusive early medieval kingdoms of Britain, and our knowledge of their culture is still rather limited. But archaeological work and post-excavation research at Burghead, near Lossiemouth in Moray, is helping to illuminate these enigmatic people.

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Pictish longhouse unearthed at Burghead Fort?

Burghead Fort, near Lossiemouth in Moray, is thought to have been a significant Pictish seat of power, being the biggest fort of its type in Scotland. However, it was long believed that the site had been largely destroyed by 19th-century development. Now archaeological work has revealed the presence of a surviving building with intact floor […]

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