The Newton Stones and writing in Pictland, part 1
location, landscape, and historical background
Newton Stones, Pictish, Epigraphy, Ogham, Pictish symbols, Pictish cemeteries and landscapes, Antiquarians, Geology, Place-names
Hill by the bridge of Shevock, west of Pitmachie, Newton House, Insch, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK
Iron Age, Late Iron Age, Long Iron Age, Pictish, 19th Century, 20th Century
In the grounds of Newton House near Insch in Aberdeenshire are two Pictish monuments. One is an inscribed stone that also has an incised Pictish mirror symbol, and the other is a Pictish symbol stone with a notched double-disc above a serpent and z-rod symbol. The inscribed stone, commonly referred to as the Newton Stone, has an ogham inscription on one edge that continues onto an added stemline, and on the top front is a unique horizontal, six-line alphabetic inscription. This article examines the documentary record for these two monuments, which were moved from their original location in the 18th and 19th centuries respectively. Through analysis of the documentary evidence, and in comparison with the local geology, the area of the original findspot of the Newton Stone and associated symbol stone is identified. The original landscape of these stones is compared with the topographical features of other Pictish monuments, particularly those in Donside. This comparison reveals that the topographical and liminal features in the original vicinity of the Newton Stone and symbol stone correspond with the wider pattern of the siting of Pictish symbol stones and Pictish cemeteries, and the association between a potentially Pictish-age settlement and these monuments may be suggested through examination of local place-names.