Dunnichen Stone

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Coordinates: 56°38′39″N 2°53′21″W / 56.6441°N 2.8891°W / 56.6441; -2.8891

The Dunnichen Stone
The Dunnichen Stone
Material Old Red Sandstone
Size 1.5 metres (4.9 ft)
Classification Type I
Symbols flower
double disc and z rod
mirror and comb
Created Seventh Century CE
Discovered 1811
Place near Dunnichen, Angus, Scotland
Present location Meffan Institute, Forfar, Angus, Scotland

The Dunnichen Stone is a class I Pictish symbol stone that was discovered in 1811 at Dunnichen, Angus. It probably dates to the 7th century AD.


The exact location at which the stone was found is unknown, but thought to be in a field in the East Mains of Dunnichen, on the SE slope of Dunnichen Hill, (grid reference NO51654960), overlooking Dunnichen Moss.[1] It is currently on display at the Meffan Institute in Forfar (grid reference NO455506).[2]


Jervise relates that the stone was found in a field called the Chashel or Castle Park, and that the site later became a quarry.[3] While this name is no longer extant, Headrick records that it was in East Mains of Dunnichen,[4] and the location was later assigned in 1966 at a disused quarry on that farm.[1]

The discovery was described by Headrick:

... a good many years ago, there was turned up with the plough a large flat stone, on which is cut a rude outline of an armed warrior's head and shoulders[4]

Jervise, noting the inaccuracy of description, identifies this confidently with the extant Dunnichen Stone.[3]

The stone was initially erected at the unidentified "Kirkton Church", either in Dunnichen or in Letham, then it was moved to the garden of Dunnichen House. It was relocated to St Vigeans Museum in 1967, then to Dundee Museum (now the McManus Galleries) in 1972.[5] It is currently on long-term loan to the Meffan Institute in Forfar.[2]

A replica stands at the Church in Dunnichen.


The stone is of rough sandstone, 1.5 meters (4 foot 8 inches) high, 0.7 meters (2 foot 3 inches) wide and 0.3 meters (1 foot) thick.[1] It is incised on one face with three symbols: a pictish flower; a double disc and Z-rod; and a mirror and comb. While the double disc and Z-rod and mirror and comb motifs are fairly common and exist together elsewhere (see for example the Aberlemno Serpent Stone, the Flower is relatively rare.


Replica of the Dunnichen Stone, at Dunnichen Parish Church
  1. ^ a b c "Dunnichen (Pictish symbol stone), site record", Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland, retrieved July 29, 2010 
  2. ^ a b "Pictish Carved Stone Collection", Meffan Museum and Art Gallery, archived from the original on October 12, 2008, retrieved July 29, 2009 
  3. ^ a b Jervise, Andrew (1857), "Notices descriptive of the localities of certain sculptured stone monuments in Forfarshire, &c (Part i.)" (PDF), Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 2: 187–201, retrieved May 19, 2012 
  4. ^ a b Headrick, James (1845), "Parish of Dunnichen", New Statistical Account of Scotland, retrieved July 27, 2010 
  5. ^ "Dunnichen Pictish Symbol Stone", Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, retrieved July 27, 2010