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Corrachree, symbol stone 260m north west of, Tarland

A Scheduled Monument in Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside, Aberdeenshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.1301 / 57°7'48"N

Longitude: -2.891 / 2°53'27"W

OS Eastings: 346157

OS Northings: 804701

OS Grid: NJ461047

Mapcode National: GBR WM.4TYY

Mapcode Global: WH7N8.K1JV

Entry Name: Corrachree, symbol stone 260m NW of, Tarland

Scheduled Date: 16 November 1923

Last Amended: 21 March 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM67

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: symbol stone

Location: Logie-Coldstone

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

Description

The monument comprises a Pictish symbol-incised stone. It lies in gently sloping improved pasture at about 220 m OD. First scheduled in 1923 and subsequently rescheduled in 1961, it is being rescheduled now to define the scheduled area accurately to modern standards.

The upright stone that bears the carvings is irregular in shape, standing about 1.5 m high and measuring about 1.2 m across its base, tapering to about 0.3 m wide it its point. It appears to have been broken in antiquity, partly destroying the symbols that incised on the stone. These designs comprise a complete disc with a triscele ornament and two incomplete symbols.

The area to be scheduled is circular, centred on the stone, to include the remains described and an area around in which evidence relating to its erection and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's archaeological and historic significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics: The monument is the surviving fragment of a symbol-incised stone, possibly representing Pictish reuse of an early prehistoric standing stone. In the absence of excavation, no precise date can be assigned to the stone or the symbols upon it. However, a date in the AD 600s for the carvings would seem likely. Few Pictish sculptures survive in their original locations, as seems likely here. Given the site's current use as pastureland, it is likely that archaeologically significant deposits relating to the erection and use of the symbol stone remain in place. Despite the stone having been broken in antiquity, the site has considerable potential to enhance understanding of prehistoric standing stones, Pictish symbol-incised stones and the rituals and practices of the people who used them. It also has the potential to contribute to our growing understanding of the Pictish attitudes to and relationship with prehistoric monuments. Study of the carved symbols has the potential to contribute to understanding of the development of Insular art in Britain and Ireland and technical aspects of carving stones in the early medieval period.

Contextual characteristics: The monument is a representative of a relatively numerous class. The Picts used symbols in a range of contexts, but the majority of surviving examples are found carved on stones. The earliest examples of this are on unshaped stones like that at Corrachree, of which around 200 examples survive. Indeed, the valleys of the lower Don and its tributaries contain 41 such monuments (22% of the national total). The symbols visible on the Corachree stone are, however, unique in Pictish art and are therefore particularly important in understanding its development through space and time.

The meaning of the symbols is much debated, but they may represent personal names or rank, or commemorate marriage alliances or deceased people of note. Some symbol-incised stones have an association with early historic burials or, possibly, prehistoric ritual sites. The proximity of this particular example to a scattering of burial cairns less than a kilometre to the S may therefore be significant. There is scant historic documentation for Pictish Aberdeenshire and little evidence for Pictish settlement sites in the area, so symbol-incised stones are one of the prime archaeological sources for an understanding of Pictish society.

We find symbol-incised Pictish stones throughout the good agricultural land of NE Scotland and the Corachree stone's location in a river valley (Strathdon) is typical. Its altitude also falls within the normal range for such findspots in Strathdon. While the symbol designs are unique to the Picts, their content provides evidence for how the art of the Picts relates to the Insular art style of this period, and the relationship to art in different media, such as metalwork. Such art-historical analysis provides important evidence for the relationship between the Picts and their early medieval neighbours.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular the culture of the Picts in Aberdeenshire, their art and beliefs, and their cultural links with other areas of Scotland and the British Isles. It is a rare instance of a symbol-incised stone still situated in its original location. This helps us to understand the relationship of such monuments to Pictish perceptions of the landscape, as well as to earlier prehistoric monuments. Loss of, or damage to, the monument would significantly diminish the capacity of the class to contribute to our understanding of Pictish society in general and that of Strathdon in particular.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the monument as NJ40SE12; Aberdeenshire Sites and Monuments Record as NJ40SE0010.

References:

Allen J R and Anderson J 1903, THE EARLY CHRISTIAN MONUMENTS OF SCOTLAND: A CLASSIFIED, ILLUSTRATED, DESCRIPTIVE LIST OF THE MONUMENTS, WITH AN ANALYSIS OF THEIR SYMBOLISM AND ORNAMENTATION, Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Mack A 1997, FIELD GUIDE TO THE PICTISH SYMBOL STONES, FORFAR: Pinkfoot Press.

Michie J G 1910, LOCH KINNORD: ITS HISTORY AND ANTIQUITIES, ABERDEEN, D Wylie and Son.

Mitchell A and Drummond J 1875, 'VACATION NOTES IN CROMAR, BURGHEAD, AND STRATHSPEY. INCLUDING NOTICE OF ONE OF THE SUPPOSED BURIAL PLACES OF ST COLUMBA', Proc Soc Antiq Scot 10, 603-689.

Ogston A 1931, THE PREHISTORIC ANTIQUITIES OF THE HOWE OF CROMAR, ABERDEEN, The Third Spalding Club.

RCAHMS 1985, PICTISH SYMBOL STONES: A HANDLIST 1985, Edinburgh: RCAHMS.

RCAHMS 1994, PICTISH SYMBOL STONES: A HANDLIST 1994, Edinburgh: RCAHMS.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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