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Mail Cemetery

Pictish Symbol Stone (Pictish)

Site Name Mail Cemetery

Classification Pictish Symbol Stone (Pictish)

Alternative Name(s) Mail Graveyard, Cunningsburgh

Canmore ID 72108

Site Number HU42NW 5.01

NGR HU 4330 2790

NGR Description HU c. 4330 2790

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/72108

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2018.

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Shetland Islands
  • Parish Dunrossness
  • Former Region Shetland Islands Area
  • Former District Shetland
  • Former County Shetland

EARLY MEDIEVAL CARVED STONES PROJECT

Mail 4 (St Columba/St Paul), Cunningsburgh, Shetland, Pictish symbol stone

Measurements: H 0.61m, W 0.42m, D 0.03m

Stone type: fine-grained old red sandstone

Place of discovery: HU 4324 2789

Present location: Shetland Museum, Lerwick (ARC 1992.1000)

Evidence for discovery: found in the 1960s during grave-digging in Mail cemetery and built into the churchyard wall. It was lying loose in the graveyard when it was re-discovered there in 1992.

Present condition: the top of the slab appears to have been crudely dressed, while the lower edge is broken.

Description

Firmly incised on one broad face of this slab is the formidable man symbol. The figure is 0.44m high and faces right, it depicts either an animal-headed god or a human wearing an animal mask. The head has a long snout with bared teeth and a large oval eye, and a beard seems to emerge from beneath it. Some sort of headdress covers from the forehead to the shoulders. He is carrying a club in his left hand and an axe-hammer in his right hand, resting against his right shoulder. He is wearing a tunic reaching almost to his knees, with a gored skirt and a hem border decorated with step pattern.

Date: seventh or eighth century.

References: Turner 1994; Scott & Ritchie 2009, no 6.

Compiled by A Ritchie 2016

EARLY MEDIEVAL CARVED STONES PROJECT

Mail 6, Cunningsburgh, Shetland, portable carved stone

Measurements: H 42mm, diam 20mm

Stone type: sandstone?

Place of discovery: HU 432 278

Present location: National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh (NS.36)

Evidence for discovery: found by a crofter while removing stones from the site of the broch at Mail and given to the museum in Edinburgh in 1923.

Present condition: damaged at the front of the base and some facial damage.

Description

Shaped into a cone, this was then carved to depict a human figure dressed in a full-length robe with a hood, with only the face visible. With slits for the eyes and mouth and a flat, squared-off nose, the face looks brutal or mask-like.

Date: early medieval.

References: Ritchie et al 2006, 61–3; Scott & Ritchie 2009, no 14.

Compiled by A Ritchie 2016

EARLY MEDIEVAL CARVED STONES PROJECT

Mail 6, Cunningsburgh, Shetland, portable carved stone

Measurements: H 42mm, diam 20mm

Stone type: sandstone?

Place of discovery: HU 432 278

Present location: National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh (NS.36)

Evidence for discovery: found by a crofter while removing stones from the site of the broch at Mail and given to the museum in Edinburgh in 1923.

Present condition: damaged at the front of the base and some facial damage.

Description

Shaped into a cone, this was then carved to depict a human figure dressed in a full-length robe with a hood, with only the face visible. With slits for the eyes and mouth and a flat, squared-off nose, the face looks brutal or mask-like.

Date: early medieval.

References: Ritchie et al 2006, 61–3; Scott & Ritchie 2009, no 14.

Compiled by A Ritchie 2017

Archaeology Notes

HU42NW 5.01 c. 4330 2790

Proposed date c.750 AD 44.2cm high.

Information from Ms V Turner (Shetland Islands archaeologist), 13 August 1992; visited (V Turner), 5 August 1992.

Class I symbol stone.

A Mack 1997.

References

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