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Cross Slab (Pictish), Pictish Symbol Stone (Pictish)

Site Name Tarbat

Classification Cross Slab (Pictish), Pictish Symbol Stone (Pictish)

Canmore ID 15638

Site Number NH98SW 15

NGR NH 9151 8402

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Tarbat
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Ross And Cromarty
  • Former County Ross And Cromarty

Early Medieval Carved Stones Project

Portmahomack, Tarbat 2 (TR 2), Ross and Cromarty, cross-slab fragments

Measurements: 2 & 2a H 0.49m, W 0.47m, D 0.05m; 2b H 0.32m, W 0.46m, D 0.05m; 2c H 0.21m, W 0.19m, D 0.04m

Stone type: grey-green sandstone

Place of discovery: NH 9149 8402

Present location: National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh (X.IB.280-1)

Evidence for discovery: the four fragments were found lying in the churchyard sometime before 1776. They were later taken to Invergordon Castle and preserved in a room in the tower.

Present condition: damaged and worn.


The three larger fragments belong to the central portion of a large cross-slab, while the small fragment 2c is probably part of the right-hand edge of the slab. They are carved in relief on one broad face, which is dominated by the shaft of a cross, bordered by roll moulding, which shows a return at the base, possibly the foot of the cross. The panel within the shaft is filled with a dense pattern based on ring-knot interlace. The background to the shaft was clearly divided up into panels filled with variations on serpentine ornament including bosses.

Date range: eighth or ninth century.

Primary references: Cordiner 1776, 66; ECMS pt 3, 88-90; Carver et al 2016, 123, 125, 161, D42.

Desk-based information compiled by A Ritchie 2018

Archaeology Notes

NH98SW 15 9151 8402.

(NH 9151 8402) Sculptured Stone (NR) (Site of)

OS 6" map, Ross-shire, 2nd ed., (1907)

The site of an ancient sculptured stone, one half of which now lies in the graveyard; the remainder is said to have been thrown into a grave and covered up.

Name Book 1872.

This stone lay in Tarbat churchyard until about the middle of the 19th century, when it was removed to the ground of Invergordon Castle. It is the lower portion of an upright rectangular cross-slab, 2'1" high x 2'8" wide, sculptured partly with incised lines and partly in relief on one face. The border of scroll foliage is almost an exact counterpart of that on the Hilton of Cadboll stone (NH87NE 7), and there is little doubt that both are the work of the same school of design. Listed as Class II, Tarbat no. 1.

J R Allen and J Anderson 1903.

Now in the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland (NMAS, IB 190)

RCAHMS 1979; 1985.

Class II symbol stone - fragment of a cross slab - on the reverse is a mounted figure to the left of a vertical arrangement of crescent and V-rod,tuning fork and serpent and Z-rod.

A.Mack 1997 p.39


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