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Orkney in the Pictish Period

The Pictish influence

Whatever the political relationship between Orkney and the main Pictish Kingdom, there is no doubt that the islands were influenced by their Pictish neighbours. Pictish symbols and stones are known in Orkney, as are other elements of Pictish culture found throughout mainland Scotland.

Although Orkney's indigenous tribes probably shared "global" cultural elements with their southern neighbours, other developments and ideas could have been the result of Pictish settlers relocating to Orkney.

Alternatively we could have a situation where the native Orcadians were simply adopting ideas and "fashions" from mainland Pictland.

An example of this is Orkney's Pictish symbol stones.

Although we find examples of Class I stones in Orkney, until 2011, there were no examples of Class II stones. Dating from around 700AD to 850AD, the Class II stones feature a cross, with other symbols, carved in relief. Their scarcity in Orkney has been suggested as being evidence of the severing of cultural links.

The fate of Orkney's Picts

The fate of Orkney's Picts remains a controversial question to this day.

Were they completely obliterated by the settling vikings or did the two live together in peaceful co-existence. There are supporters in both camps and the question remains hotly debated. Click here for more details.

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