One of the most striking locations of any Pictish symbol stone in Scotland, also known as the Keillor Stone.
Aligned ENE-WSW and standing just under two metres in height on a tumulous that is probably Bronze Age, this fine example of a Class 1 Pictish Symbol Stone lies on the southern edge of the Ecomuseum and commands magnificent views across the valley of Strathmore to the Cairngorms in the distance.
Dating back to the the 6th-8th centuries, there are three sets of carvings on south facing side which, whilst faint with age, can still be seen in certain lights.
About two thirds of the way up is an abstract symbol known as the “double disc and Z-rod”, lower down are carvings of a rimmed mirror and possibly a comb, and at the top, an image of a wolf or a bear.
Whilst it is not known what any of these symbols really mean, there are various theories, including that the stones were memorials to the dead with the double disc symbolising a King and a Z-rod a broken spear and therefore an indicator of death and that the mirror and the comb represented a woman. Another interpretation of the double disc and Z-rod is that it represents the clashing of cymbals or a flash of lightening.
Some scholars suggest the Picts may have used vivid colours to bring out the designs and make their meaning clearer and easier to understand.
The Scottish genealogist John Stuart, writing in The Sculptures Stones of Scotland published in 1856 tells us:
“The Stone at Keillor is placed on a tumulus on the north slope of the Hill of Keillor, in the Parish of Newtyle, and Shire of Forfar. It is a rough stone, formed of gneiss, convex in front, and rugged behind. The tumulus on which it is placed is formed of earth and stones, and several cists containing bones have been found in it. Ancient sepulchral remains have also been dug up in various parts of the adjoining field.
“The stone was broken across some years ago about a foot above the ground, but the parts have recently been clasped together, and the stone replaced in its original site by orders of Lord Wharncliffe.”