Cost: Free

The Emergence and Development of Pictish Power Centres in Northeast Scotland, c.300-1000 AD.

''The Emergence and Development of Pictish Power Centres in Northeast Scotland, c.300-1000 AD.''

Lecture by Dr Gordon Noble


One of the most significant changes visible in early medieval northern Britain was the re-emergence of fortified enclosures and settlements. As in Ireland and western England and Wales, the hillfort formed the material manifestation of power, a northern alternative (or addition) to the hall as symbol of more developed social hierarchies in a post-Roman context.

This talk will outline the types of fortified sites that emerged in the early medieval period in northern Britain and explore some of the important roles they played in early medieval society, notably in terms of establishing and reinforcing new and emergent forms of elite society. The talk will focus on the Picts – first mentioned in the later 3rd century AD by late Roman writers, the Picts went on to become the dominant polity in northern Britain till the 9th century AD. At the height of Pictish cultural expansion, Pictish influence was felt across a remarkably large area that stretched from the Firth of Forth in the south to Orkney and Shetland in the north and from the east coast to the northern Hebrides in western Scotland.

The talk will draw directly on the results of the University of Aberdeen Northern Picts project that has identified a whole series of hitherto unknown Pictish power centres and shed new light on long discussed, but poorly understood sites, helping reveal the pathways to power that Pictish rulers followed to create the powerful polities that dominated this region for over 600 years.


Click here to find out more about the project.