Mons Graupius

Known as the “painted people” the Picts inhabited the north east of Scotland before the Romans, over 2,000 years ago.

The Picts left a tremendous legacy; stone carvings that depicted life in their era. Images of hunting scenes were carved into stones. There is much debate about the reasons why the Picts carved those images. Some believe it was to mark territories, while others think it was to commemorate victorious battles.

Christianity seemed to play an important part in their art. Images relating to hunting were replaced with Christian symbols during the early part of the first millennium AD. It is believed that the monks coming to Scotland from Ireland had an influence on the Picts, perhaps introducing them to Christianity.

Pict stone carvings

Regardless of the reasons, one thing is certain. The stone carvings are a wonderful legacy to the Picts and to their way of life.

The north east of Scotland has the largest collection of Pictish art than anywhere else in the world. Thousands of stones have been found, by farmers and during excavations.

Pict fort on Bennachie

There is a tremendous example of a Pict fort. Located at the top of a hill called Bennachie, the fort, now in ruins, is testament to the skill and craftsmanship of their people. The fort was possibly built to protect the Picts from the invading Romans. A famous battle was held near to Bennachine. Mons Graupius, translated as hill or hump, was fought in AD 83. The Roman’s were forced to retreat and never took Scotland, perhaps because of the fierce opposition from the Picts.

I wanted to capture something of their legacy, so I created my very own stone carving.