AN ANCIENT PICTISH stone uncovered three years ago at Craigellachie has been restored and is ready to form the centrepiece of a new exhibition at the Elgin Museum.
The ‘Dandaleith Stone’ was named after the farm on which it was discovered and is a particularly unusual historical artefact that sparked widespread interest.
Decorated with a large eagle with crescent and a V-rod below one face, the stone has a mirror case symblol with notch rectangle and Z-rod below on the adjoining face – both are typical Pictish symbols, however the positioning on adjoining faces and alignment is unusual and is thought to be unique.
Janet Trythall, who is vice-president of the Museum owners the Moray Society, said: “The Picts are such an iconic part of our history. When you stand next to our new stone you cannot but wonder who the artist was, and what was in his or her mind.
“We know there is international interest in the art of the Picts and hope to welcome many visitors, old and new, to our treasure house of a museum this season.”
The stone was allocated to Elgin in 2014 through the treasure trove process, with a conservation project undertaken on the new stone and its place in the existing Pictish carved stone collection at the Museum. Funding was obtained from the Heritage Lottery Fund, AIM, Art Fund and Aberdeenshire Council Archaeology Service to facilitate this.
The collection of stones was relocated to the Leith workshop of Graciela Ainsworth Sculpture Conservation, where they were cleaned and conserved, and a new display designed.
The carved stones finally returned home to Elgin in February, and were installed in the museum with “much trial and tribulation” by Graciela and her team, with the generous support of the Elgin Marble Company, and in collaboration with Darroch & Allan Ltd, Elgin.
The new display has been designed to showcase the wonderful art of the Pictish carved stones, allowing the visitor to see them at their best and appreciate the workmanship which has gone into their creation.
Claire Herbert, the Regional Archaeologist at the Aberdeenshire Council Archaeology Service), commented: “It’s very satisfying after so many years to finally see the Dandaleith Stone return to Moray, and for it to be displayed so magnificently in this new exhibit alongside the Museum’s wonderful collection of carved Pictish stones.
“And even better, that everyone can come and see this and the Museum’s other exhibits for free.”