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Pictish Symbol Stone (Pictish), Standing Stone (Prehistoric)

Site Name Ardlair

Classification Pictish Symbol Stone (Pictish), Standing Stone (Prehistoric)

Alternative Name(s) Kennethmont

Canmore ID 17636

Site Number NJ52NE 3

NGR NJ 5547 2784

NGR Description NJ 5547 2784 and NJ 5549 2783

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Aberdeenshire
  • Parish Kennethmont
  • Former Region Grampian
  • Former District Gordon
  • Former County Aberdeenshire

Early Medieval Carved Stones Project

Ardlair, Aberdeenshire, Pictish symbol stone

Measurements: H 1.12m above ground, W up to 0.99m, D c 0.36m

Stone type: grey gneiss.

Place of discovery: NJ 5547 2784

Present location: in situ on a spur to the south-east of Ardlair stone circle.

Evidence for discovery: the symbols were first recognised by Coles in 1901, incised on one of two standing stones, presumably outliers of the stone circle.

Present condition: some weathering.


An irregularly shaped and massive slab, this stone is incised on its south face with three symbols: a Pictish beast accompanied on the right by a tuning-fork above and to the immediate right of a mirror with a double-ball handle.

Date range: seventh century.

Primary references: ECMS pt 3, 505-6; Fraser 2008, 14, no 3.

Desk-based information compiled by A Ritchie 2019


Field Visit (20 September 1967)

Two standing stones at NJ 5547 2784 and NJ 5549 2783, the former bearing Pictish symbols as illustrated by Allen (1903). The SE stone, 1.0m high is much weathered and irregularly-shaped; without excavation it is impossible to say if this is the remains of a stone circle.

Surveyed at 1/2500

Visited by OS (NKB) 20 September 1967.

Desk Based Assessment (1967)

NJ52NE 3 5547 2784 and 5549 2783.

(NJ 5561 2778) Two standing stones, facing one another at a distance of 84 feet and aligned north and south were found by Coles (1902) in 1900 at spot height 780 feet OD. The northern stone bears Pictish symbols. It is a massive slab 3 feet 8 inches high, 3 1/4 feet broad and 12 inches thick. Coles postulates that the stones are the remains of a stone circle.

F R Coles 1902; J R Allen and J Anderson 1903.

Information from OS.

Reference (1997)

Class I symbol stone. Elephant over a mirror with tuning fork on the right.

A Mack 1997.

External Reference (1 March 2007)

Scheduled as 'Ardlair, symbol stone and adjacent standing stone 420m SSW of,... two Bronze-Age standing stones situated on the exposed brow of a hill. Pictish people reused the northern stone in the early medieval period, when they incised three symbol designs upon it.'

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 1 March 2007.


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