The Sculpture of Southern Pictland

This tour, which passes through some of Central Scotland’s most scenic areas, focuses on the artistic legacy of the Picts. It will be lead by Dr Katherine Forsyth and Prof Stephen Driscoll, Director of the Department of Archaeology’s SERF project (Strathearn environs and Royal Forteviot) which has been conducting an archaeological field school in the area for nearly a decade.

An hour’s drive brings us to Dunning, Perthshire, a focus of the cult of St Serf. We will visit the site of the early medieval monastery, now occupied by St Serf’s church, with its early 12th-century tower and rare Romanesque doorway. Its post-Reformation T-plan and the 17th-century stones in the surrounding kirkyard are distinctively Presbyterian. Our focus, however, is the magnificent 9t- century Dupplin Cross with its inscription to King Constantine (d.820). After coffee we travel on to Meigle Museum which houses 'one of the most important collections of early medieval sculpture in Western Europe' comprising 26 stone sculptures of the 8th-10th centuries, including cross slabs, recumbent gravestones, a 'hogback' stone and rare architectural fragments. Meigle’s Arthurian associations are documented from at least the 15th century and we will visit the nearby Grave of 'Queen Vanora' (Guinevere).

After a soup and sandwich lunch we continue on through Strathmore to Aberlemno, Angus, with its four magnificent Pictish stones. Arranged along the roadside are two ‘Class 1’ pillars inscribed with mysterious Pictish symbols, and a magnificent cross-slab carved with a hunting scene and book-wielding angels. In the churchyard is one of the finest of all Pictish cross-slabs with its famous depiction of a battle.

Arrive back in Glasgow (University Avenue) approx. 18.00.

Cost £35 (Includes: morning coffee, lunch)

Access: Easy access on pavements and paths

Register here