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LECTURE SYLLABUS 2023-24 Lectures are held on Fridays at 7.30, on Zoom

19 Jan

Heather Pulliam, Hellmouths and Hallowed Ground: Rethinking Depictions of David on Pictish monuments.
Heather Pulliam is professor of Medieval Art at Edinburgh University, specialising in Britain and Irland. She is interested in the relationship between an object and the outside world, rainfall, light, the viewers’ gaze. Heather was part of the curatorial team for The Celts exhibition at the British Museum and later at the National Museum of Scotland in 2015. After three years as Head of History of Art, Heather has a Paul Mellon Senior Fellowship to complete her book project, Art and the Living Frame in Early Medieval Britain and Ireland (Cambridge University Press). Heather is also co-editing a book with Rachel Moss, Trinity College Dublin, Irish and Scottish Art, c. 900- 1900: Survivals and Revivals.


16 Feb

Fiona Campbell-Howes , Nothing beside remains? Re-reading the landscape context of Sueno’s Stone. Sueno’s Stone near Forres in Moray remains one of Pictland’s most spectacular and most enigmatic monuments. For 250 years historians, art historians, archaeologists and antiquarians have tried, mostly inconclusively, to establish answers to the most fundamental questions about this 6.5m cross-slab with its unique, grisly battle scenes: who put it up, when, what for, and why here? This paper will discuss the early findings of my MA research into the stone’s purpose and historical context. In particular, it will assess the wider landscape context of the stone: a hitherto under-studied aspect of its setting and one which may hold important clues to its original function. In doing so it will question the suggestion that the stone is an isolated memorial, way-marker or boundary stone, and invite us to imagine it instead as an active element in a dynamic, peopled early medieval landscape rich with symbols of past and present power.

Fiona Campbell-Howes is studying for an MA in History with Medieval Studies at the University of Birmingham. Having grown up in Moray she has long had a fascination with the area’s early medieval past, and hopes to go on to a PhD to delve deeper into this most obscure period of Moray’s history. She writes about her research into Sueno’s Stone and early medieval Moray at


15 March

Sarah Semple, New discoveries at Yeavering (provisional title)

Sarah Semple is professor of Archaeology at Durham University. She is interested in the connections between landscape, material culture, religion and identity. Her major projects include Negotiating the North: Meeting Places in the Middle Ages in the North Sea Zone; People and Place and The Making of the Kingdom of Northumbria. Alongside working on the Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture, she won an AHRC bid for Worked in Stone. Completing the Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture. She is currently engaged in The Yeavering Project, a reassessment of the royal site and its geographical situation.


19 April

Mike Arrowsmith, “Romanes eunt domus” – or what did the Romans ever do for us? Note: this talk precedes our society field trip to Wemyss Caves, 15- 16 June

Why, where and when did the people who became known as Picts start carving symbols in stone? Radiocarbon dating in recent years from coastal sites, including at East Wemyss, suggests that the earliest surviving carvings may date to at least the fourth century. This talk explores the possible links between some of the earliest carvings at Wemyss and the corpus of images and dedications known from the hinterland of Hadrian’s Wall, executed around the third century by both Roman soldiers and the local population. It will examine the historical and archaeological evidence for continuity and change in diplomatic, military, economic and cultural relationships across the Forth in the first half of the millennium and suggest a chronology and context for the surviving archaeology at East Wemyss.

Mike Arrowsmith is Chair of the Save Wemyss Ancient Caves Society, a committee member of the St Andrews University Archaeological Society and member of the Pictish Arts Society. He works as a part-time computer officer at the University and undertakes independent work in digital heritage, specialising in 3D modelling and reconstructions. He has co-authored book chapters and articles on the Wemyss Caves and developed the interactive website at


The Pictish Arts Society




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