Stones in a raised or open area

Visibility was seen as a key feature to consider when exploring the physical location of Pictish Symbol Stones. In terms of beliefs there are two directions – to the Stone in the context of those by or near a church and from a Stone if, in Pictish-Mithraism, linking carvings on the Stone to a sky-ward view.

There are 10 Class 2 Stone locations “in a raised or open area” most of which have other features. Detail for each locations is in the Stones in a raised or open area PDF with an overview below.

Of these 10 Class 2 Stone locations “in a raised or open area”, 6 are by, in or near water (relevant to the practice of both Pictish-Mithraic and Christian beliefs) of which 2 are at or near a church location and 2 have an association with a Saint. Only 4 have being in a raised or open area as their only “feature”.

Maybe the open area location for Aberlemno Roadside 2 has some relevance to the hunting scene (perhaps it occurred there or nearby). It is certainly widely visible giving it prominence and would have served a Pictish-Mithraic believer as an Open Air Mithraeum with the combination of Symbols and a complementary skyward view. For St Vigeans the prominence of the location is accentuated by a church built on a glacial mound – even before the construction of the church the location for Stones would have been impressive, not least with Brothock Water at its base.

4 locations for Stones have “in a raised or open area” as their only specific feature. However, what they have in common is basically being isolated, “not near a formal belief structure” nor near a water feature. In the author’s analysis they each have complementary Pictish-Mithraic and Christian carvings making them strong contenders as “transition” Stones – isolated locations seemingly are not a barrier and may be a feature in themselves.

The undamaged survival of these Stones in such visible areas suggests they did not create any discord for people in their locations – in the times when they were erected and since. With the Stones acting as a shared space for two beliefs they could well have been very visible places of worship for Pictish-Mithraism and Christianity.