Warrior ideologies in first millennium AD Europe: New light on monumental warrior stelae from Scotland

Mark Hall, Nicholas Evans, Derek Hamilton, Juliette Mitchell, James O'Driscoll, Gordon Noble* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

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In the first millennium AD a ‘heroic warrior ethos’ has been interpreted from the evidence of graves, historical sources and from poetic depictions. In northern Britain, the burial record of the later prehistoric to early medieval period is limited and there are few literary or historical sources. However, there is a rich sculptural record from this region and the discovery of a new warrior depiction on a massive monolith along with reconsideration of older discoveries reveals a distinctive materialization of a martial ideology enacted through the erection of carved stone monuments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-144
Number of pages18
Issue number373
Early online date24 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Thanks to the finders of the Tulloch stone, Brice Prentice and Alex Campbell, for their prompt reporting of the stone and Balfour Beatty for their support in transporting it. Also thanks to the colleagues who attended two workshops held at Perth Museum to discuss the discovery. Simon Gilmour gave access to radiocarbon information on Loch na Beirgh. Aberdeenshire Council and Historic Environment Scotland gave permission to excavate around the base of Rhynie No.3. Excavations at Rhynie have been supported by the University of Aberdeen Development Trust and Historic Environment Scotland. The writing of this article was supported by a Leverhulme Trust Research Leadership Award (RL-2016-069).


  • Scotland
  • early medieval
  • late Roman
  • stelae
  • warrior


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