The development of the Pictish symbol system: inscribing identity beyond the edges of Empire

Gordon Noble (Corresponding Author), Martin Goldberg, Derek Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The date of unique symbolic carvings, from various contexts across north and east Scotland, has been debated for over a century. Excavations at key sites and direct dating of engraved bone artefacts have allowed for a more precise chronology, extending from the third/fourth centuries AD, broadly contemporaneous with other non-vernacular scripts developed beyond the frontiers of the Roman Empire, to the ninth century AD. These symbols were probably an elaborate, non-alphabetic writing system, a Pictish response to broader European changes in power and identity during the transition from the Roman Empire to the early medieval period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1329-1348
Number of pages20
JournalAntiquity
Volume92
Issue number365
Early online date26 Oct 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

Keywords

  • Scotland
  • Pictish
  • symbolism
  • carving
  • language
  • writing

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