The Pictish Arts Society





On 25 May 2018, the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force across Europe.  It introduced stricter requirements on the way we handle data.


Positive consent from our members is necessary before we, the Pictish Arts Society Committee, can communicate with them by email or by post or by phone.  Members can withdraw their permission at any time by contacting


Personal data supplied by our members is kept on file and is used solely to communicate with members.  The Sign-in book at lectures also contains names and addresses of those attending lectures.  Personal data will not be shared with any third parties.


Members’ names and addresses/email addresses are kept for distributing our Newsletters by post/email, sending information about the PAS Conference/AGM and Brechin lecture series, occasional items of interest, and reminders about subscriptions.  Phone numbers are kept in case of last minute changes or cancellations, e.g. if a speaker falls ill shortly before their talk.


Data will be deleted once it becomes clear that membership has ended after reminders about late payment have been sent.


Members have the right of access, referred to as subject access, to obtain a copy of their personal data. This is obtainable, subject to proof of identity, from the Membership Secretary.


Pictish Arts Society

May 2018


The Pictish Arts Society was founded in 1988.

It is the purpose of the PAS to raise public awareness of the Pictish stones, history and culture and to encourage various arts inspired by Pictish design. Membership is open to one and all from across the globe for anyone who has an interest in the Pictish stones and arts.



All photos by Bob Henery, Strathclyde University or David McGovern


Our Winter/Spring series of lectures is held in the upstairs gallery, Brechin

Museum, High Street, Brechin, in association with Angus Council.  

Doors open 7pm for a 7.30pm start.  Everybody is welcome!

Members free.  Guests and visitors £3.00 including tea, coffee and biscuits.

If you require disabled access, please contact Stewart Mowatt on 01356 623981.


Forthcoming Events

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The first lecture of the 2019/2020 season of the Pictish Arts Society will be held on Friday 20 September.  The venue is the upstairs gallery of Brechin Town House Museum in the High Street.

Dr Alan Macniven will consider “The Vikings in the Northeast? A contextualised overview”.

The evidence for ‘Viking activity’ in northern and western Scotland has grown steadily in recent decades.  Discovery of the so-called ‘Hostage Stone’ at Inchmarnock, and a ravaged, Early Christian monastery at Portmahomack appear to confirm the violent nature of early encounters.

But there have been many other finds which point to longer term agendas.  Investigation of the boat burial at Swordle Bay, the settlement landscape at Bornais, and the fish-processing debris at Freswick Links, for example, indicates a move towards settled and economically productive, yet culturally distinct communities.  This interpretation is now supported by recent place-name studies and the emerging body of DNA evidence.

When it comes to the northeast of the country, on the other hand, the situation appears to have been radically different.  As yet, there is no convincing evidence for a lasting Scandinavian presence beginning at any point during the Viking Age – a situation traditionally attributed to the greater resilience of the Pictish heartlands.  But it would be wrong to imagine that the peoples of this area were immune to Scandinavian violence.  From the mid-9th century, the ascendant rulers of Norse Dublin embarked on five decades of aggression against the Picts.

Interestingly, their campaigns are recorded in far more detail than events in the Scandinavian settlement zones to the north and west.  Sources including the Annals of Ulster and the Scottish Chronicle suggest that war was waged from Moray in the north to Dunkeld in the south, and as far east as Dunottar.  These offensives inflicted heavy casualties on the Picts, including kings.  Tribute was taken and in some cases, such as the campaigns of 866 and 875, they lead to extended periods of occupation.

In the years and centuries that followed, there are indications that the kings of Alba learned to engage more diplomatically with their Viking neighbours in Dublin, Orkney and York.  Apart from some stray finds of (potentially!) Scandinavian artefacts, however, the material footprint of this activity is practically invisible.

In his talk, Dr Alan Macniven will review the Viking experience of northeast Scotland from a long-term perspective.  He will consider the events described by the annals, the potential motivations behind them, and the general types of location where they are likely to have taken place.  He will also discuss what might realistically remain to be found.

Alan is a Senior Lecturer in Scandinavian Studies at the University of Edinburgh, where he teaches on a range of courses covering the language, literature and culture of modern and medieval Scandinavia. His research has focused on Scotland’s Norse place-names. Alan is currently on research leave working on a field guide to Scotland’s Viking Namescapes for Birlinn Books.

Doors open at Brechin Museum at 7.00 pm for a 7.30 pm start. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be available after the talks which are free to members and £3.00 to non-members. All are welcome.

For further information contact

For information on the Pictish Arts Society visit or





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