The Heroic Age

A Journal of Early Medieval Northwestern Europe

Issue 8, June 2005, Issue Editor: Elizabeth Ragan

Founded 1998   |   ISSN 1526-1867

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Pictish Art and the Sea

Craig Cessford  
University of Cambridge

©2005 by Craig Cessford. All rights reserved.  This edition copyright ©2005 by The Heroic Age.  All rights reserved.

Abstract:  Although the sea must have been of crucial importance to the Picts, evidence for this is relatively scarce.  Pictish art includes a number of depictions of boats and the form of a common symbol known as the Pictish Beast—although originally probably based upon dragonesque brooches—appears to partially be influenced by the shape of dolphins.  The distribution of Pictish sculpture and place names allows the extent of 'Pictish territorial waters' to be defined and a number of sites that probably acted as naval bases can be identified.


Article Navigation

Introduction

Depictions on stone

Distribution

Neighbouring Groups

Pictish Naval Bases

Conclusions

Introduction

§1.  The Picts, who are attested in documentary sources to have inhabited much of northern Scotland between the late third and early ninth centuries AD, must by necessity have relied on waterborne trade and communications to a great extent. Similarly naval power along the west and east coast must have been crucial in terms of both internal and external relations. There is, however, a paucity of direct evidence and what there is has attracted relatively little attention. This is emphasised by the lack of space given over to the topic in recent general works on the Picts (e.g., Foster 1996, 102; Laing and Laing 1993, 63). General statements describing them as a maritime culture abound; for instance, Martin Carver describes them as "mainly people of the firths and coasts" (Carver 1999, 57), and a strong argument can be made for the importance of the sea.

§2.  The two main sources of evidence for the geographical distribution of the Picts, place names and symbols carved on stones, have a general distribution that suggests the sea was important, particularly as they include the Orkneys and the Shetland Islands. However it must be noted that although the general distribution supports the importance of the sea, on more detailed basis this is not necessarily the case. For instance a study of place names in Fife suggests that they avoided the coast (Whittington and Soulsby 1968). Classical sources of the first half of the first millennium AD suggest that the inhabitants of this area made frequent use of boats in their encounters with the Roman empire. There is also documentary evidence that the Picts possessed strong naval forces: the Annals of Tigernach in AD 729 record that "A hundred and fifty Pictish ships were wrecked upon Ros-Cuissine," possibly Troup Head (Anderson 1922, vol. I, 226). More generally there are references to military activities in the Orkneys, which must have involved movement by sea. In the 580s the Annals of Ulster record "A campaign in the Orkneys [was conducted] by Aidan, Gabran's son" (Anderson 1922, vol. I, 86) and in the 680s the Annals of Tigernach state that "The Orkneys were destroyed by Brude" (Anderson 1922, vol. I, 191).

§3.  The importance of the sea is not, however, strongly reflected in Pictish art. Artistic evidence for the sea can be seen in depictions of boats, a symbol known as the Pictish Beast, hippocamps, depictions of the Biblical story of Jonah, and the location of some of the symbols. Nevertheless, in overall terms, sea based imagery is not strong and is mainly of Classical or Christian inspiration.

Depictions on Stone

Boats

§4.  The most well known depiction of a boat in Pictish art is on the unfortunately highly weathered Class II stone at Cossans known as St. Orland's stone. Close to the base on the rear of the stone is a vessel containing five or six figures (Allen and Anderson 1903, vol. III:216-18). It appears to show a double ended, mastless, plank-built vessel with a high prow and stern, a rudder, and possibly oars (Carver 1999, 57-58; Foster 1996, 102; Laing and Laing 1993, 63; Ritchie 1989, 31). The Cossans stone was probably carved in the late eighth or early ninth century AD. This is sufficiently late that it could be either a Pictish or a Viking vessel, but as there is nothing particularly warlike about the vessel or the figures in it, it is probably Pictish (Carver 1999, 57-58). It clearly contains five figures: a larger object at the prow may either be a sixth figure or some form of object such as a large pointed cross slab. As such differences in size between figures are often used in Pictish art to denote differences in status, with the larger figure being of higher status, it is likely that it is a sixth person. This sixth figure should therefore denote an important personage, one suggestion being that it is Jesus and the scene shows him with his disciples preaching on the Sea of Galilee (Sutherland 1997, 176).

§5.  There is a nineteenth century record of the discovery of five short cists lined with thin sandstone slab containing skeletons close to stone (Jervaise 1857, 248-51). The bodies were crouched inhumations aligned west-east placed to the southwest of the stone and within approximately four metres of it. It is therefore possible that the figures in the boat depicted on the Cossans stone relate to these burials. As Jervaise does not seek to link the number of burials to the occupants of the boat this increases the veracity of his number of burials, as there is no suggestion that the carving influenced the figure of five burials. If the ship is a depiction of Jesus preaching on the Sea of Galilee then those buried may have been a group of religious figures who died together. The Cossans stone is located over ten miles from the sea so the idea that these burials might represent some form of burial at sea whilst not impossible is not particularly likely.

§6.  Another carving of a boat in Jonathans' Cave may be contemporary with the Pictish carvings in the same cave, although certainty is impossible (Le Bon 1992). It shows a simple mastless boat with elongated hull and five oars, a sixth oar is being held by a figure in the rear of the boat and is being used to steer the boat. The earliest visitors to the cave who left records did not notice this carving and it is possible that it is modern. The correspondence in numbers between the Cossans and Jonathan's Cave stones is intriguing, with six figures in one and six oars in the other and one of each singled out for special attention. This suggests that both boats could be depictions of the same story.

§7.  There are a number of scratched depictions of boats on local slate found at Jarlshof on Shetland (Hamilton 1956). It has been suggested that a local artist incised these and that they could be either Pictish or Viking vessels (Ritchie 1989, 50).

§8.  Although undoubtedly informative, the striking fact about the depictions of boats in Pictish art is their small number. Boats are clearly not a common element in the Pictish artistic repertoire, although it should be remembered that there is only a single depiction of a wheeled vehicle (for a discussion, see Cessford 2001b). The lack of depictions of boats is perhaps therefore only part of a more general pattern in Pictish art, although this needs to be contrasted against the frequent depiction of horsemen (Hughson 1992).

Pictish Beast

§9.  The symbol usually referred to as either the "Pictish Beast" or the "swimming elephant" is a sinuous animal with a long snout, spiralled feet and a drooping, typically spiral-ended tail. It is one of the most common symbols in the Pictish repertoire, occurring twenty-nine times on Class I stones, twenty-five times on Class II stones, and five times on the walls of caves. Various origins and identifications have been suggested for this symbol. It has been argued that it is derived from the ornamental repertoire of eighth century Insular art; is based upon some unknown type of object (Mack 1997, 8-9); is a depiction of a deer (Thomas 1963, 49-52); a mythical animal such as the kelpie, eich uisge (water horse), or tarve uisge (water bull) of later Scottish folklore (Foster 1996, 74; G. Murray 1986, 243; Sutherland 1997, 86-88); or a sea mammal such as a dolphin (Foster 1996, 74; Thomas 1986, 166) or beaked whale (Macleod and Wilson 2001).

§10.  The most coherent argument for it being a dolphin is that advanced by Carola Hicks (1996). She identifies a number of recurrent features that support the identification as a dolphin, including its diagonal posture as if plunging upwards, the head lappet indicated by a single or double line, a long snout curling outwards at the tip, limbs which end in coiled scrolls not feet and a rudimentary tail shown by a single line (Hicks 1996, 49-50). Whilst this identification of certain elements of the Pictish Beast as dolphin-based appears credible, Hick's view is perhaps a little simplistic and requires modification. Isabel Henderson (1996, 15) has argued that the Pictish Beast is "manifestly . . . an imaginative composite made up of parts of animals including horned and marine creatures, but essentially a pure hybrid with no core species." The view that this is a composite beast with dolphin elements has found support Carver 1999, 18). The more recent suggestion that it is a beaked whale rather than a dolphin (Macleod and Wilson 2001) is intriguing, but this argument is based largely on the shape of the head and does not explain the whole symbol.

§11.  When attempting to identify the origins of Pictish symbols, it is important to remember that although the surviving examples, mainly carved in stone, date to the second half of the first millennium AD, it is likely that they were initially developed several centuries earlier, possibly around the first and second centuries AD, for utilisation on organic materials that have not survived. This means that the symbols that survive are relatively late and developed forms that do not necessarily have a particularly close relationship to the earliest forms, so even if it is possible to recognise typological developments (e.g., Henderson 1958, 51-52; G. Murray 1986, 243-49) these are not particularly helpful. Elements of the head of the Pictish Beast are apparently derived from the crested heads of dragonesque brooches of the first and second centuries AD, which it has been argued were then grafted on to the body of a quadruped or hippocamp (Laing and Laing 1993, 120-21). This raises the possibility that the Pictish Beast is based upon the dragonesque brooch.

Simplified illustration of dragonesque brooches from Scotland

Simplified illustration of some dragonesque brooches from Scotland, the Mortlach 2 symbol and some Pictish Beast symbols (based mainly upon Allen and Anderson 1903, vol. III and Kilbride-Jones 1980).

§12.  This idea receives support from a number of pieces of evidence. The most basic is that in general terms of shape and appearance the main elements of the Pictish beast are a reasonably close approximation of a dragonesque brooch. As a piece of high status metalwork of the first and second centuries AD the dragonesque brooch is a likely candidate for the origin of a Pictish symbol as many other symbols appear to be based on metalwork of this date (Thomas 1963; Cessford forthcoming). The body of the Pictish Beast is infilled with interlace, fretwork, or spirals; this makes it similar to symbols that are either based on objects or are abstract rather than animal symbols (Allen and Anderson 1903, vol. I:lxiii). This makes it almost certain that those who carved the symbols did not think of the Pictish Beast as an animal-based symbol.

§13.  Another possible piece of supporting evidence is a symbol on the Mortlach 2 stone, described as "hitherto unrecorded and I am unable to hazard even a conjecture as to what it may represent" (Simpson 1926, 274-78). This symbol was so unusual that Henderson failed to list it in her catalogue of symbols, recording only the Pictish Beast on the stone above it (Henderson 1958, 58) and the RCAHMS catalogue(1994, 13) describes it simply as a "curvilinear symbol." This symbol has been identified as either a dragonesque brooch (Thomas 1963, 57) or a uniquely shaped version of a symbol known as the ogee (Mack 1997, 103). This identification as an ogee appears unlikely and Thomas's identification is more plausible. The striking thing about the symbol on Mortlach 2 is its similarity in alignment and overall form to the Pictish Beast symbol above it, with projections corresponding to the head, tail and upper and lower limbs of the Pictish Beast identifiable. The relationship is so close that it seems impossible to escape the conclusion that the carver of the Mortlach 2 stone is depicting the Pictish Beast symbol and its origins.

§14.  Dragonesque brooches are S-shaped pieces of jewellery depicting double-headed animals with large upstanding ears and curled snouts that appear to date from between the mid-first and later second centuries AD (Bulmer 1938; Feachem 1951; Johns 1996, 151-53; Kilbride-Jones 1980, 170-83; MacGregror 1976, vol. 1:127-29). Their distribution is concentrated in northern England and southern Scotland, with the closest examples to the area of the Pictish symbols being six from Traprain Law. Although none have been found further north, several other types of artifact that Pictish symbols are based upon, such as mirrors (Cessford 1997) or cauldrons (Cessford 2001a), are also completely or largely absent from the area where the symbols are found. If dragonesque brooches are the origin of the Pictish Beast symbol then this raise the question what animal do the brooches depict? Unfortunately it is impossible to tell if they are based on a real or mythical creature, although if it is a real animal then the most likely candidate is thought to be a hare (Johns 1996, 152).

§15.  It seems likely the Pictish Beast symbol originated as a depiction of a dragonesque brooch and subsequently acquired elements based upon sea mammals such as dolphins and beaked whales. Why this should have happened is uncertain. Dolphins were an attribute of Neptune and Venus in the Classical world and were frequently shown on funerary monuments, including some in Northern Britain. Later on they were adopted as a Christian symbol because of their role on pagan funerary monuments. In Early Christian art they have a dual nature, with a fish element symbolising Christians and Christ and a whale element relating to Jonah, whose story prefigures Christ's death and resurrection. It could therefore be argued that as dragonesque brooches went out of use and faded from memory the general form of the symbol was enough to suggest dolphins, and that either the Classical or Christian overtones of this animal were appropriate to the meaning of the symbol. It is also possible that dolphins had a pre-existing local significance in the beliefs of northern Scotland that could have played a role. Certainly there is evidence from bones recovered from archaeological sites that various sea mammals were known to the inhabitants of the area (Mulville 2002).

§16.  If the Pictish Beast is originally a depiction of a dragonesque brooch then although it appears to incorporate marine elements it cannot be considered a strong piece of sea related symbolism in Pictish art.

Other Pictish symbols

§17.  The only other symbols that may have a marine component are the flower, fish, and fish monster symbols. It has been tentatively suggested that the flower symbol represents the hindquarters of a seal (Thomas 1963, 57), but this appears unlikely. The fish symbol has generally been identified as a salmon and this appears to be correct. There is no way to tell if the fish symbol relates in any way to the part of the salmon's lifecycle which takes place in the sea and it is perhaps more probable that it relates to the riverine phases.

§18.  The fish monster symbol which has been described as "somewhat sea-horse-like" (Mack 1997, 18) occurs on only four stones. The resemblance to a sea-horse is probably fortuitous and it is more likely to represent a mythical or imaginary animal. If this is the case then it is impossible to tell if this would relate to an animal supposed to dwell in the sea or in rivers.

Hippocamp

§19.  Hippocamps or sea horses, which must ultimately be of Classical inspiration, either during the Roman period or more probably later, are found on eleven Class II stones and generally symbolise guardianship in Classical and early Christian art. It has been noted that some examples such as those on Aberlemno 2 are treated as a "discrete appliqué- like motif," which presumably betrays their inspiration (Henderson 1996, 25). Although clearly recognisable as hippocamps, the Pictish examples share a range of features with Pictish depictions of horses. Their heads and forelegs are distinctly horse-like and they have an ambiguous mane or fin. In later examples the hippocamp is reduced to a simple S-shaped serpent with a legless coiled body and a dog head (Henderson 1996, 25), which betrays no traces of its marine origin.

Jonah

§20.  There are a number of depictions of the Biblical story of Jonah and the whale, with the whale usually being depicted as an Early Christian ketos or dog-headed fish (Henderson 1996, 25). At Fowlis Wester it is shown as a dog-headed sea monster and at Dunfallandy as wolf-headed with a large fin and U bend in its fat tail (Henderson 1967, 145). Like the hippocamp, later depictions of the ketos do not betray its marine origins.

§21.  It has also been suggested that the human figure with fish tail lower limbs on Meigle 22, which has been thought of as a triton, mermaid with double fish tail (MacKenzie 1929), or Cernunnos figure (Ritchie 1989, 61), is in fact a representation of Jonah (Henderson 1996, 11-12).

Distribution

§22.  One potential role for Pictish art in attempting to determine the relationship between the Picts and the sea is to look at the distribution of material. Whilst it would be naively simplistic to assume that there was a direct relationship between the distribution of people and groups who thought of themselves as Pictish and either Pictish symbols, mainly on Class I and II stones, or the other major possible source of evidence, place names such as those incorporating the element "pit" (Nicolaisen 1976, 150-58, 1996, 6-15), their distribution may nonetheless be informative.

§23.  If we consider the distribution of Pictish symbols in coastal terms, excluding examples on potentially highly mobile portable artefacts, then around a third occur relatively close to the sea, although only a few are directly on the coast. The southernmost examples, excluding a single outlier from south of the Firth of Forth in Edinburgh that may not have been discovered in its original location, on the east coast are in Fife, including a concentration directly on the coast in a number of caves at East Wemyss and Caiplie. In Fife there are also symbol stones located close to the coast at Scoonie and Largo, between East Wemyss and Caiplie. Proceeding up the east coast there are symbol-bearing stones all the way up the coast, admittedly sometimes with quite long distances between them. Those located relatively close to the coast include St. Madoes, Inchyra, Longaforgan, Monifieth, St.Vigeans, Dunnicaer, Covesea, Burgehead, Rosemarkie, Torgrom, Dingwall, Roskeen, Nigg, Shandwick, Hilton of Cadboll, Tarbat, Edderton, Little Ferry Links, Golspie, Dunrobin, Clynemilton, Kintradwell, Navidale, Latheron, Watenan, Ulbster, Ackergill, and Keiss.

§24.  Of these the caves of East Wemyss (Allen and Anderson 1903, 3:370-73; Ritchie and Stevenson 1993), Caiplie (J. Murray 1961), and Covesea (Allen and Anderson 1903, 3:129-31; Benton 1931), plus the stones at Dunnicaer (Allen and Anderson 1903, 3:200-1; Alcock and Alcock 1992, 276-81) and Burghead (Allen and Anderson 1903, 3:118-24; Cessford 1995) can be considered as particularly closely linked to the sea in terms of location. The significance of these sites is, however, uncertain. In the case of the symbols in the caves and on the seastack at Dunnicaer there is no convincing evidence that these stones relate to contemporary occupation at the sites. Instead they appear to be remote locations that were in at least some sense "hidden" and probably had a ritual function of some kind. If this is the case then their coastal location could be considered fortuitous, at the very least it cannot be taken as indicating that the sea was of particular significance. The case of Burghead is rather different and is discussed below.

§25.  There are stones in the Orkneys at Knowe of Burrian, Evie, Pool, Tankerness Ness, Brough of Birsay, Broch of Gurness, Broch of Oxtro, Green's Stone, Orphir, Redlands, and St. Peters Church. Examples occur in the Shetlands at Mail, Lerwick, and Sandness. Turning westwards along the northern coast of Scotland there are a few more stones at Craig of Hattel, Crosskirk, and Sandside, but these continue no further west than Caithness.

§26.  Considering the west coast of Scotland there are symbols at Trusty's Hill in Dumfries and Galloway, and Dunadd in Argyll. These are isolated atypical examples, far outside the normal distribution of Pictish symbols. Whilst it would be possible to view these as evidence of raiding or military activities that could potentially shed light on Pictish seafaring, in fact it is questionable whether Picts carved them at all (for Trusty's Hill, see Cessford 1994 and Laing 1999; for Dunadd, Lane 1984 and Lane and Campbell 2000, 18-23). Further north there is an undeniable group of stones on Skye at Fiscavig, Tobar na Maor, and Clach Ard, and on the nearby Isle of Raasay (Fisher 2001, 103-05). There are also stones further north at Gairloch and Poolewe ( Fisher 2001, 91), and in the Outer Hebrides at Strome Shunamul on Benbecula and at Barra on the Isle of Pabbay (Fisher 2001, 108-09) at the southern end of the chain.

§27.  These west coast examples appear to indicate a Pictish presence as far south as Skye, and the locations of the stones, especially on the Western Isles, suggests relatively extensive Pictish maritime activity. This is at least partly confirmed by Adomnan in his Life of Saint Columba, where he describes the saint's involvement with a pagan called Artbranan, whom he required an interpreter to talk to and who was therefore almost certainly Pictish (Adomnan 1995, 1.33). Artbranan was the commander of a warband from the main Pictish area of the east coast and was travelling in a small boat with at least two companions. Why Artbranan was visiting Skye is unclear, but it is evidence for at least some Picts in boats in this area. The number of stones on the west coast is relatively low, eight in total, and they are all Class I. This suggests that they might be relatively early, although decorative features suggest that they are between the late seventh and ninth centuries AD (Fisher 2001, 12). There is a considerable gap between these stones and the nearest other coastal examples, some hundred and fifty kilometres away, an area from which no contemporary settlements are known.

§28.  The distribution of place names with Pictish elements such as "pit" ("portion, share, piece of land") is relatively similar, although rather more restricted, extending northwards from the Fifth of Forth only as far as the Dornoch Firth, with a few stragglers in Lothian south of the Firth of Forth and on the west coast (Nicolaisen 1996, 8 and map 1).

§29.  The distributions of Pictish symbols on Class I and II stones and the "pit" place name element suggests that if we want to think in terms of "Pictish territorial waters" then we should envisage these as running from the north coast of the Firth of Forth up the east coast of Scotland to the northern coast of Caithness, incorporating Orkney and Shetland. The status of the west coast is less clear and this might be viewed as a periphery extending as far south as Skye and incorporating the Western Isles.

Neighbouring Groups

§30.  In terms of seafaring neighbours the other main groups on the east coast were the Britons of the kingdom of Gododdin, with their centre at Din Eidyn (Edinburgh), and the Anglo-Saxons of Bernicia and Northumbria. The poetry of the Gododdin (Jarman 1988) certainly suggests that the Firth of Forth was some form of boundary, but does not contain any evidence of a strong British seafaring tradition. With the establishment of Bernician and later Northumbrian control of the lofty basalt crag of Bamburgh under the king Ida and their subsequent expansion northwards in the seventh century (Yorke 1990, 72-99) it is likely that the Northumbrians posed more of a naval threat on the east coast, although paradoxically it is on the west coast with Bede's references in his Ecclesiastical History (4.26) to raids on Ireland in AD 684 and control of Angelsey and the Isle of Man (2.5 and 2.9) that we have the best evidence of Northumbrian naval power. On the west coast the Dál Riata Scots, with their great fortress at Dunadd and apparently firm control of the coast at least as far north as from an early date, were neighbours whose naval power is vividly expressed in the Senchus Fer nAlban (Bannerman 1974), which records over a hundred vessels with crews of fourteen oarsmen and a steersman, totalling a naval force of around two thousand men. Although the exact nature and purpose of the Senchus Fer nAlban is open to question, the naval exploits of the Scots are also demonstrated by other documents that record internecine naval battles in AD 719 and raids on Ireland in AD 733.

Pictish Naval Bases

§31.  A number of fortified coastal promontory sites occupied at the time have been tentatively identified as Pictish naval bases (Foster 1996,: 43, 1998, 11; Laing and Laing 1993, 85). These include Burghead, Greencastle, Cullykhan, Dundarg, and Dunottar. The strongest candidate is Burghead (Edwards and Ralston 1980; Cessford 1995; Ritchie 1989, 12-15) where "it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that this was an important naval base for the Picts from as far back as the late Roman period" (Foster 1996, 43). This site is located close to an excellent anchorage, an extensive beach in the bend of the bay to the west of the site, which probably acted as landing place (Carver 1999, 29). The sequence of construction is well dated and during the Pictish period there was a fort with massive stone walls divided into two enclosed areas with at least three sets of ramparts and ditches across the promontory covering an area of nearly three hectares.

§32.  Greencastle, Portnockie, was redefended with a timber palisade in the fourth century. This was then replaced by a much more substantial timber framed wall with squared vertical and horizontal timbers, mostly oak, set into mortices in transverse timbers (Laing and Laing 1993, 84-85; Ralston 1980, 1987). Some of the timbers in the ramparts appear to be reused and it has been suggested that they may be ships' timbers (Laing and Laing 1993, 63), although the excavator thinks that this is "a fanciful alternative" (Ralston 1987, 22).

§33.  At Cullykhan the discovery of third and fourth century pottery and radiocarbon dates indicates occupation, although the nature of this and whether it indicates large-scale use of the fortified site is uncertain (Ralston 1987, 17). The evidence for the other sites such as Dundarg and Dunottar is much less certain, based often on similarities in site morphology or sometimes apparently no more than wishful thinking. Although there is no challenging the coastal location of sites such as Burghead, their interpretation as naval bases is based almost entirely on a perception derived from documentary sources that the Picts must have had such bases and no direct archaeological evidence for this interpretation has yet been found. In any case Burghead is particularly instructive. The site contains a unique group of bull symbols, originally at least thirty in number, that is not paralleled anywhere else; it appears likely that the bull symbol played a particular role at this site. Yet if Burghead was a naval base the bull symbol that was so prominent at the site betrays no links to the sea whatsoever and is as firmly terrestrial a symbol as could be imagined.

Conclusions

§34.  Only limited imagery related to the sea can be found in Pictish art in the form of occasional depictions of boats; the Pictish Beast symbol, which incorporates sea mammal elements; hippocamps; and the Jonah story. In most cases these elements derive from Classical or Christian origins rather than local ones and are relatively rare. The one exception to this is the Pictish Beast. Whilst this is a relatively common symbol, the sea mammal elements appear to be secondary and may be based upon Classical or Christian meanings. We are therefore left with the apparently strong contrast of a group for whom the sea must have been of some significance, but who produced art with only a very small and largely derivative maritime element. Why this should be so is not readily apparent. The artistic corpus a culture produces was not of course created as an objective record but for a whole range of often idiosyncratic reasons. In a sense then the lack of maritime imagery requires no explanation, as it was simply not generally appropriate for the roles that Pictish art was created to fulfil. It does, however, suggest that at some deep-rooted level the sea was not symbolically of great significance to the Picts. Whatever the importance of the sea really was, at some basic level Pictish culture and symbolism was firmly terrestrially based.


Acknowledgements:  My thanks to Anja Wolle for reading a draft of this text.


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