The Drosten Stone, St Vigeans: A cultural hybrid

The Drosten Stone, St Vigeans: A cultural hybrid

Paper given by Jane Geddes

Delivered at the Tayside and Fife Archaeological Committee 2017 Conference

In 1882, the parliament in Westminster passed the first act to preserve ancient monuments in Britain. A short schedule was drawn up listing the key items in its national heritage. Scotland contributed 35 items to stand alongside places like Stonehenge. These places included showstoppers like Maeshowe and the Drosten Stone at St Vigeans, Angus.

The stone had first come to public attention in the 19th century. Thereafter, antiquarians pounced on the enigmatic inscription, hoping it would be the Rosetta Stone unlocking the secret of the Pictish language. There are at least 67 articles about the inscription, but nobody has written about the art, which speaks equally eloquently, but in a visual language.

Professor Jane Geddes is Chair in History of Art at the University of Aberdeen.

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