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The Tulloch Stone


Archaeologists have carefully recreated images of a figure on a Pictish stone, discovered during the construction of a road in 2017, with the details uncovered offering new insights into Scotland’s warrior past.

During ground clearance work close to Perth’s McDiarmid Park, a nearly two metres-high monolith was found, depicting a male figure carrying a spear.

Though the outline of the man could be seen, the carving was faint in places and the surface of the stone had partly delaminated.

Archaeologists from the University of Aberdeen, which is leading the study of Northern Picts, have taken thousands of photographs to create 3D images. This has clarified the design and allowed them to compare it to those found on other stones.

Professor Gordon Noble, Head of Archaeology at Aberdeen, and Dr Mark Hall, archaeological curator at Perth Museum, say the stone – known as the Tulloch Stone is a ‘significant find’ which adds to the corpus of material available for study.

In a paper published in Antiquity the research team argues that similarities observed between the Tulloch Stone, named after where it was discovered, and those found at Rhynie in Aberdeenshire and Newton of Collessie in Fife are ‘filling the gaps’ of Scotland’s undocumented history.

Professor Noble said: “By looking at the three stones together, we have been able to draw new conclusions about what these figures represent.

“On the Tulloch Stone we can now see that the man is carrying a distinctive door-knob butted spear which we know from previous research was in use from the third to the sixth century.

“He also has a very distinctive hairstyle, is wearing a helmet and necklace and has a faint line around the left ankle which could suggest footwear or tight leggings.

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