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Latheron

Ogham Inscribed Stone (Pictish), Pictish Symbol Stone (Pictish)

Site Name Latheron

Classification Ogham Inscribed Stone (Pictish), Pictish Symbol Stone (Pictish)

Alternative Name(s) Lat 257

Canmore ID 8144

Site Number ND13SE 27

NGR ND 1981 3315

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/8144

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

Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Latheron
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Caithness
  • Former County Caithness

EARLY MEDIEVAL CARVED STONES PROJECT

Latheron 1, Caithness, Pictish symbol stone inscribed in ogham

Measurements: H 0.91m, W 0.43m, D 0.10m

Stone type: grey sandstone

Place of discovery: ND 1981 3315

Present location: National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh (IB 183)

Evidence for discovery: found by John Nicholson in 1903 in the interior face of the wall of an old byre, taken to Keiss Castle and presented to the museum in 1905.

Present condition: broken

Description

The carved face appears to have been bordered by a deeply pecked line, which survives along the left-hand edge, where just within it is a long inscription in ogham. Forsyth’s reading of the ogham is DUNNODNNA(I)T or Dunodnait. At the top the lower part of a cross carved in relief shows double-spiral ornament within the shaft and very simple two-cord interlace in the basal tenon. Below are incised a stylised eagle standing on a salmon, above an incomplete motif of two horsemen.

Date: eighth or ninth century.

Desk-based information compiled by A Ritchie 2016

Archaeology Notes

ND13SE 27 1981 3315

See also ND13SE 26.

A rectangular slab bearing on one face a double rectangular figure in relief with double-spiral and interlaced patterns; below it, incised, a bird, a fish, and two horsemen; and down the left side of these inscriptions, a line of Ogham characters reading DUNNODNNAT MAQQ NETO, which was noticed in 1903 in the inside wall of a barn 1/4 mile S of Latheron Post Office, was donated to the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland (NMAS) in 1905 by Sir Francis Tress Barry (Accession no: IB 183).

J Anderson 1904; Proc Soc Antiq Scot 1905; RCAHMS 1911.

A stone incised with a portion of Celtic cross (ND13SE 26) was also found at this position and is now at ND 1990 3341.

(Undated) information in NMRS.

Activities

Field Visit (26 July 1910)

Built into the wall, in the interior of an old barn, was found a few years ago a sculptured stone bearing an Ogham inscription. It is a rectangular slab of Caithness sandstone, and measures 3’ in extreme height, 1’ 5” in breadth, and about 4” in thickness. The top and bottom are broken away, the fracture at the top passing obliquely across the stone on the left-hand side, but is probably incomplete owing to the fracture. What remains shows eighteen complete characters and possibly part of a nineteenth. The sculpturing, which is partly in relief and partly incised, and occupies the whole face of the stone, consists of the double rectangular figure in relief, the upper and wider rectangle filled with double spiral ornament arranged in a C-shaped scrolls placed back to back, the lower and narrower filled with an interlace pattern; and below, incised (1) a bird, (2) a fish, and (3) two horsemen (partly broken away).

The stone was discovered in 1903 by Mr John Nicolson, Nybister, who brought it to Sir Francis Tress Barry, and the latter presented it to the National Museum of Antiquities, Edinburgh, where it now is. It is fully described and illustrated in an article by Dr Joseph Anderson in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Visited by RCAHMS, 26th July 1910.

Field Visit (18 July 1910)

Built into the wall, in the interior of the old barn mentioned in the previous paragraph, was found a few years ago a sculptured stone bearing an Ogham inscription. It is a rectangular slab of Caithness sandstone and measures 3' in extreme height, 1' 5" in breadth, and about 4" in thickness. The top and bottom are broken away, the fracture at the top passing obliquely across the stone. The inscription runs the whole length of the stone on the left-handsidem but is probably incomplete owing to the fracture. What remains shows eighteen complete characters and possibly part of a nineteenth. The sculpturing, which is partly in relief and partly incised, and occupies the whole face of the stone, consists of a double spiral ornament arranged in C-shaped scrolls placed back to back, the lower narrower filled with an interlaced pattern; and below, incised (1) a bird, (2) a fish, and (3) two horsemen (partly broken away).

The stone was discovered in 1903 by Mr John Nicolson, Nybster, who brought it to Sir Francis Tress Barry, and the latter presented it to the National Museum of Antiquities, Edinburgh, where it now is. It is fully described and illustrated in an article by Dr. Joseph Anderson in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries (Antiquaries, xxxviii, p.134 (illus.)).

Visited by RCAHMS, 18th July 1910.

Field Visit (25 March 1968)

This symbol stone was found at ND 1981 3315.

Visited by OS (N K B) 25 March 1968.

Reference (1997)

Class II symbol stone (fragment) showing on the carved face an eagle and salmon with an Ogam inscription.

A Mack 1997.

References

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