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greengalloway

As all that is solid melts to air and everything holy is profaned...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dark Age Punks?

Late Medieval painting of Pictish Adam and Eve

Describing the Picts to me when I visited the Galloway Picts Project dig at Trusty's Hill, archaeologist Ronan Toolis said they were like the punks of the Dark Ages- the people the Romans could not conquer. They were the fiercely independent people who lived beyond the boundaries of the Roman Empire.

The people who lived in Galloway (south west Scotland) were not Picts and were (for about 100 years) part of the Roman Empire. But just as the images and symbols of punk became widespread, so did those of the Picts. The symbols below are carved on a rock at the entrance to a hill fort (Trusty's Hill) in Galloway. The one on the left is Pictish, the one on the right is not.
No one knows what they mean. One theory is that they were carved by a Pictish raiding party after they attacked the fort. Alternatively (and more likely) they represent some kind of alliance between the Picts and the local people - but from the sixth century, after the Romans had left Britain.

In 1500 years time, if a future archaeologist finds this symbol buried in a layer of debris, I wonder what they will make of it?


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