“Transition” Stones – Conclusions

Although this topic is labelled as Pictish “Transition” Stones the author started with a suspicion but not an assumption that the Class 2 Stones served a specific purpose to facilitate transition from one set of beliefs to another. However,

  • by gathering data about all the Class 2 Stones,
  • looking for patterns in terms of physical locations,
  • seeing whether carved objects from two beliefs had complementary meanings,
  • making observations from the interpretations then
  • rolling up those observations into an overall picture,

conclusions can now be drawn.

Class 2 Stones – their carved surfaces and physical locations – have, indeed, been used as Transition Stones serving three purposes:

1 representing Pictish-Mithraic belief Symbols as seen on Class 1 Stones,

2 introducing the Christian Cross and, in some cases, biblical scenes enabling that belief to be pursued in a stand-alone fashion and

3 continuing the pursuit of Pictish-Mithraic beliefs whilst transitioning to Christianity.

Success has been achieved for the following reasons:


  • Carvings relevant to Pictish-Mithraism have not been defaced or removed
  • Objects for the “new” religion have not covered over those for the existing beliefs
  • Format and style of carving on individual Stones is at minimum integrated if not, in some cases, “done by the same hand”


  • The meaning represented by Pictish-Mithraic and Christian carved objects is either complementary or at least shows “implied acceptance”.
  • Stones being found in, near and under Christian churches confirms at minimum acceptance, perhaps reverence but no threat from the Pictish-Mithraic iconography.
  • Carvings recorded beliefs but the Stones were most likely outdoors places for worship with some locations progressing to become indoors places of Christian worship i.e. churches. 

Long-term we are seeing now what was carved well over a thousand years ago – testament  not just to choice of material and carving methods but to respecting what these carvings actually meant, or what we consider they might have meant.

Overall, with so many examples of Stones with content recording two beliefs – stand alone, complementary and enabling transition – it could be concluded that the Class 2 Stones can be called Pictish Transition Stones.

This links to a draft book on Pictish “Transition” Stones.