Aspects of Physical Locations

To better understand not only why Class 2 Stones were placed in the locations where they have been found but also their original locations, three pieces of information are needed as a start point:

  • A list of Physical Locations for all Class 1 and 2 Stones i.e. the more broadly named Pictish Stones that are “Symbol” Stones which does not include Class 3 Stones,
  • A list of the Physical Locations for Class 2 Stones alone and
  • Derived from the above, “Differences and Similarities” for Class 1 and Class 2 Stone locations.

For each Stone a specific location based on proximity to identifiable aspects of the natural and built environment has been recorded. Noting the wide range of locations of Symbol Stones prompted initially grouping them by the following aspects of their Physical Locations: 

  • Church interior / foundations / wall
  • Churchyard / graveyard
  • Church or chapel nearby
  • Manse
  • Stone circle – part of or nearby
  • In a field
  • In or by a farm
  • In a garden
  • In foundations of buildings
  • From a dyke
  • Near a broch
  • On a barrow or tumulus
  • Long cist capstone cover
  • Over a low rectangular cairn
  • Side of an irregular cist
  • Covering an inhumation burial
  • Cover of a cist-like structure
  • Near a long cist
  • By / near water
  • In water
  • In a raised or open area

A comprehensive list based on the above “aspects” was compiled – Physical Locations of Pictish Symbol Stones.

With a focus on investigating the prospective “transition” function for Class 2 Stones those aspects that are relevant only to Class 1 Stones were removed and the remainder assigned to what might be called “ecclesiastical” settings and other physical aspects.

Much of the “ecclesiastical” settings analysis was based on the range and numbers of Pictish Symbols in these settings (e.g. churches and churchyards) and is detailed in this annexe Symbols in Ecclesiastical Settings.

The result was a specific listing of Class 2 Stones – Physical Locations which provided a fundamental source for exploring Class 2 Stones in more detail to assess whether they can indeed be correctly referred to as “Transition” Stones. This listing uses a reduced number of “aspects” pertinent to Class 2 Stones.

To ensure no characteristics of the various locations of Class 1 and Class 2 Stones had been overlooked a check was made with details of the analyses and resultant interpretations at Differences & Similarities.

A key output from the above data gathering and analyses is in Features of Class 2 Stone Locations which provide much of the “bigger picture” in the detailed exploration for Class 2 Stones. In its accompanying Table there are 3 broad physical locations and whether any Stone might have association with a Saint.