Pictish symbol stones and early cross-slabs from Orkney
cross-slab, symbol stones, carved stones, Picts
Orkney; Scotland; UK
Pictish, early medieval, medieval
Orkney shared in the flowering of interest in stone carving that took place throughout Scotland from the 7th century ad onwards. The corpus illustrated here includes seven accomplished Pictish symbol-bearing stones, four small stones incised with rough versions of symbols, at least one relief-ornamented Pictish cross-slab, thirteen cross-slabs (including recumbent slabs), two portable cross-slabs and two pieces of church furniture in the form of an altar frontal and a portable altar slab. The art-historical context for this stone carving shows close links both with Shetland to the north and Caithness to the south, as well as more distant links with Iona and with the Pictish mainland south of the Moray Firth. The context and function of the stones are discussed and a case is made for the existence of an early monastery on the island of Flotta.