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Carved Stone (Pictish), Composite Slab Shrine(S) (Early Medieval)(Possible)

Site Name Pittensorn

Classification Carved Stone (Pictish), Composite Slab Shrine(S) (Early Medieval)(Possible)

Canmore ID 79898

Site Number NO03NE 31

NGR NO 0860 3905

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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Administrative Areas

  • Council Perth And Kinross
  • Parish Little Dunkeld
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Perth And Kinross
  • Former County Perthshire


Murthly 3, Pittensorn Farm, Perthshire, panel fragment

Measurements: H 0.34m, W 0.35m, D 0.10m

Stone type: grey sandstone

Place of discovery: NO 0860 3905

Present location: Perth Museum & Art Gallery (1995.319).

Evidence for discovery: found during gardening close to the west wall of the farmhouse around 1990.

Present condition: broken and worn.


This fragment belongs to the upper left corner of a panel from a shrine or screen. It is carved in low relief within a flatband moulding which bears an incised median line. The ornament consists of two confronted and apparently naked figures with long hair and the rear parts of two animals. The human figures are clasping one another’s raised right wrist, and their elongated legs are intertwined with one another and with two snakes whose heads are biting their genitals. The lower animal to the right has a tail ending in a spiral and the upturned tail of the upper animal rests against the back of the right-hand human figure. This panel may belong to the same shrine or screen as the panel found nearby and known as Murthly 1.

Date: mid eighth to mid ninth century.

References: Hall, Henderson & Taylor 1998.

Compiled by A Ritchie 2016

Archaeology Notes

NO03NE 31 0860 3905

A fragment of a Pictish stone was found while gardening by the W wall of Pittensorn farmhouse (NO03NE 46) by the owner.

The fragment appears to be the top left-hand corner of a rectangular slab carved in relief. Carved decoration survives on only one side. Within a border moulding around the edge of the stone are depicted in relief two men facing one another and grasping each other by the wrists, possibly fighting over a book or rectangular object held in the hand of the right-hand figure. Their legs become an interlace pattern which binds them together and continues down the left-hand side of the slab as far as the lower break. To the right of this design are to be seen the hind parts and tails of two animals, the upper possibly a hound, the lower possibly a wolf or other wild beast with a spiral tail. Very little of these animals survives.

The surfaces of these relief carvings have been damaged in places but this is not recent. The stone measures 345mm in width, 352mm in height and 100mm in maximum depth.

The fragment has been transferred to Perth Museum and Art Gallery, pending a Treasure Trove decision.

M D King 1994n; NMRS MS/742/3.

NO 0860 3950 This fragment of Pictish stone reported in DES (King 1994), has been allocated to Perth Museum & Art Gallery as Treasure Trove. Accession no: 1995.319.

M A Hall 1995.


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