Class 2 Stones – a detailed exploration

Determining whether Class 2 Stones are Transition Stones as such, and to what extent, is influenced by these factors:-

  • Clarity of carvings – a particular issue where sometimes there are only fragments.
  • Style of carving – for those Stones where the Pictish-Mithraic and Christian objects are seemingly carved by the same hand.
  • Potential up-scaling of existing Stones – Class 1 with incise carving having an addition of Class 2 in relief e.g. Glamis.
  • The type, clarity and surface positioning of carvings – where the prime purpose might have been to display a Christian Cross with Pictish-Mithraic related objects almost relegated to a secondary position such as the reverse of a slab.
  • Strength of relationship between Pictish-Mithraic and Christian objects – “Complementary” (similar or identical meanings resulting in a correlation between them) versus “Implied Acceptance” (related carvings that do not clash but are not harmonised).
  • Physical location – the impact or influence of proximity to known churches, water and/or topographic prominence of position e.g. St Vigeans.
  • Proximity of Class 2 and Class 1 Stones – whether coincidence or influence.

Carvings on Class 2 Stones interpreted in the context of Pictish-Mithraic and Christian beliefs are core to exploring the prospect of their being used to “transition” between these beliefs.

All of the Class 2 Stones that can be considered as “transition” contenders are marked up on this map. Concentrations of these Stones are in the vicinity of Perth, Meffan (Forfar) and McManus (Dundee) museums.

What is apparent is the degree to which there might be a relationship between the carvings representing these two beliefs on a per Stone basis. This is explored in “Strength” of relationship between carvings and is applicable to all Class 2 Stones. A summary of the findings for each Stone is at Synopsis and Evaluation by Stone.

Whilst interpretation of carvings is key to understanding the religious beliefs represented by the Symbol Stones, physical location of the Stones themselves may also reflect their function in transitioning from one belief to another. A bigger picture became apparent – beyond individual Stones – when physical locations are collectively taken into consideration. An additional area to investigate also appeared – any association with a Saint. Together these are explored as Features of Class 2 Stone Locations.