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Clach an Tiompain, symbol stone

A Scheduled Monument in Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh, Highland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.5911 / 57°35'28"N

Longitude: -4.5364 / 4°32'10"W

OS Eastings: 248487

OS Northings: 858511

OS Grid: NH484585

Mapcode National: GBR H85N.GV4

Mapcode Global: WH3DM.9G2F

Entry Name: Clach an Tiompain, symbol stone

Scheduled Date: 18 May 1925

Last Amended: 10 October 1995

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM1676

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: symbol stone

Location: Fodderty

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh

Traditional County: Cromartyshire

Description

The monument consists of a standing stone of slightly less than 1m in height, one side of which bears incised Pictish symbols and which stands on a low stony mound.

The stone, which is known locally as 'Clach an Tiumpan' or 'The Eagle Stone', is a roughly rectangular slab of blue gneiss which stands approximately 0.85m high and measures approximately 0.6m wide by 0.25m thick. On its E-facing side appear 2 incised symbols, the upper one known as the horseshoe, because of its shape (although this is not necessarily what is represented), and the lower carving showing a bird, traditionally identified as an eagle. The latter appears to have given the stone its English name, but the Gaelic name means either 'The sounding stone' or 'The stone on the ground'. The top right-hand corner of the face of the stone has been broken at some point, and a small arc of the downward-facing 'horseshoe' symbol is missing. The upper symbol is ornamented with curved lines and small circles, and the bird is represented covered in conventionalised feathers.

The stone stands on a low stony mound approximately 1m in height, obviously of artificial origin. Its original position is uncertain, and although a credible local tradition states that it was moved from the old churchyard at Fodderty, over a mile to the SE, it is also possible that it stands close to or on its original site.

The area to be scheduled is a circle 8m in diameter centred on the stone, to include the stone and the mound on which it sits, as depicted in red on the enclosed map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a stone bearing Class I Pictish symbols, and hence considered to represent the earliest type of Pictish symbol stone, standing on an artificial mound. It has the potential to enhance our understanding of social structures in the early historic period, as well as contributing to our understanding of the function of these enigmatic monuments.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

The monument is recorded in the RCAHMS as NH 45 NE 6.

References:

Allen, J. R. (1903) Early Christian Monuments of Scotland, 59-61.

RCAHMS (1994), Pictish Symbol Stones: A Handlist.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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