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Littleferry Links

Midden(S) (Period Unassigned), Pictish Symbol Stone(S) (Pictish), Lithic Implement(S) (Flint)

Site Name Littleferry Links

Classification Midden(S) (Period Unassigned), Pictish Symbol Stone(S) (Pictish), Lithic Implement(S) (Flint)

Alternative Name(s) Dunrobin Museum; Meikle Ferry; Little Ferry Links

Canmore ID 15339

Site Number NH89NW 2

NGR NH 814 966

NGR Description NH c. 814 966

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/15339

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Golspie
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Sutherland
  • Former County Sutherland

Early Medieval Carved Stones Project

Little Ferry Links 1, Sutherland, Pictish symbol stone fragment

Measurements: H 0.18m, W 0.18m, D 0.11m

Stone type: sandstone

Place of discovery: NH 814966

Present location: Dunrobin Museum (ARC 540), Dunrobin Castle.

Evidence for discovery: a surface find made in 1872.

Present condition: broken but carving good.

Description

This small fragment is deeply incised with three parallel lines and two spirals, which are probably part of a rectangle symbol.

Date: seventh century.

References: ECMS pt 3, 45-6; Fraser 2008, no 146.1.

Compiled by A Ritchie 2016

Early Medieval Carved Stones Project

Little Ferry Links 2, Sutherland, Pictish symbol stone fragment

Measurements: H 0.43m, W 0.28m, D 0.08m

Stone type: sandstone

Place of discovery: NH 814966

Present location: Dunrobin Museum (ARC 543), Dunrobin Castle.

Evidence for discovery: a surface find made in 1874.

Present condition: weathered and pitted.

Description

The incised carving on this fragment is badly damaged but appears to represent a small plain notched crescent above a crescent and V-rod. Mack suggests that the rod-end is the right-hand rod of a vertical crescent and that the arc to the right is perhaps part of a mirror.

Date: seventh century.

References: ECMS pt3, 45-6; Fraser 2008, no 146.2.

Compiled by A Ritchie 2016

Early Medieval Carved Stones Project

Little Ferry Links 3, Sutherland, Pictish symbol stone fragment

Measurements: H 0.15m, W 0.15m, D 0.06m

Stone type: red sandstone

Place of discovery: NH 814966

Present location: Dunrobin Museum (ARC 544), Dunrobin Castle.

Evidence for discovery: a surface find made in 1872.

Present condition: broken but the carving is good.

Description

This small fragment is deeply incised with an unusual design: two concentric circles with a central hollow and three curving lines radiating from the outer circle. This appears to be part of an ornate triple disc such as that on the stone from Keiss in Caithness.The depth of carving is similar to that on Little Ferry Links 1, but the slab as it survives is half the thickness of the latter.

Date: seventh century.

References: ECMS pt 3, 45, 47; Fraser 2008, no 146.3.

Compiled by A Ritchie 2016

Early Medieval Carved Stones Project

Little Ferry Links 4, Sutherland, Pictish symbol stone fragments

Measurements: H 0.50m, W 0.38m, D 0.09m

Stone type: red sandstone

Place of discovery: NH 814966

Present location: 4 Dunrobin Museum (ARC 545), Dunrobin Castle; 4a Inverness Museum & Art Gallery (where it is displayed alongside a cast of no 4; 00.211).

Evidence for discovery: no 4 was a surface find made in 1880 and no 4a came from the same area. It came to the museum sometime between 1909 and 1917 but no details are known of its discovery.

Present condition: broken but carving is clear.

Description

Together these two fragments represent the top left portion of a symbol stone incised with at least two symbols. A crescent and V-rod with internal decoration is carved above two concentric arcs, which may be part of a mirror or triple disc.

Date: seventh century.

References: ECMS pt3, 45, 47-8; Harden 1986; Fraser 2008, no 146.4.

Compiled by A Ritchie 2016

Archaeology Notes

NH89NW 2 c. 814 966

(Area: NH 814 966) Flint Implements in large numbers, Rude Pottery, Iron Slag & Scoriae, Sheel Mounds, Stone Hammers and Sculptured Stones of Pictish Period found here (NAT)

OS 6" map, Sutherland, 2nd ed., (1907).

See also NH89NW 22.

Near the Meikle and Little Ferries many shell-mounds were observed about 20ft from the shore. They were from 20ft to 100ft in diameter, heavily capped with grass-covered sand, and seldom more than 30ins thick (Tait 1871).

From sections exposed, artifacts of flint, quartz, and other stone were taken, and these are now in the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland (NMAS). They are atypical and belong to a poor industry of utilised flakes and pieces with few crudely retouched forms. The situation of the refuse, which was composed of the shells of the ordinary food molluscs and the bones of wild animals, suggests an equivalent of the culture of the western Obanian strand-loopers. A well-made faceted flint implement, described as a spear-head, from one of these shell-heaps, may point to contact with the cairn-builders (Lacaille 1954). Four fragments of Pictish symbol stones have been found in this area in 1872, 1874 and 1880. All are in Dunrobin Museum (Accession nos: 1872.3 and 4, 1874.3, 1880.10).

L Tait 1870; L Tait 1871; J R Allen and J Anderson 1903; RCAHMS 1911; A D Lacaille 1954.

The stones described by authorities 3 and 4 are in Dunrobin Museum. No further finds were made in the area, it now being planted with conifers.

Visited by OS (W D J), 4 May 1964.

(Name: NH 814 967) Mesolithic Flint Implements and Pictish Symbol Stones found (NAT)

OS 1:10,000 map, (1971).

Artifacts from this site which are in Dunrobin Museum comprise:

Accession no - 1870.1: Butt end of a stone axe, donated by Rev G Gordon, Birnie;

1872.1: sherd of neolithic pottery;

1891.1: sherd;

1891.2: piece of slag found near Loch Unes, donated by Dr A Sutherland, Invergordon;

X 10: leaf-shaped arrowheads;

X 11: hollow-based flint arrowheads (probably from Ferry Links);

X 14-19, X 22-3, X 34-5: flints, scrapers, knives, fabricators, rod, blade, flakes, points;

X 20-21: Me type cores of flint;

X 33: four microlithic type blades of flint;

X 73: whetstone;

X 82: sherds;

X 86: chip of stone axe (probably from Langdale);

X 12: fifteen barbed and tanged arrowheads, mainly from Ferry Links.

(Undated) information from TS of Catalogue of Dunrobin Museum, by A S Henshall.

No change to the previous reports.

Visited by OS (N K B), 5 December 1980.

Four Class I symbol stones showing :

Little Ferry Links 1 - part of a rectangle.

Little Ferry Links 2 - horseshoe and rod end.

Little Ferry Links 3 - a triple disc

Little Ferry Links 4 & 4a (two fragments of the same stone) : crescent and V-rod over ? part of a mirror.

A Mack 1997.

References

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