Hilton of Cadboll

Heather James, 2009

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Heather James
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Heather James (2009) Hilton of Cadboll [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] https://doi.org/10.5284/1000085

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Hilton Stone Upper Section

Upper Section

The Hilton of Cadboll Pictish cross-slab is thought to have been erected at the Chapel site on the east coast of Easter Ross in the late 8th century AD. After falling and breaking its tenon, it was re-erected on the site in the 12th century and a medieval chapel was built beside it, possibly on the site of an earlier structure. The cross-slab is thought to have fallen in a storm in 1674 and shortly afterwards one side of the cross-slab was defaced and re-carved with a memorial to Alexander Duff in the 17th century. The result of this re-carving left thousands of fragments of the Pictish carving and the lower portion in-situ beside the Chapel. Historic Scotland, The National Museums of Scotland, Highland Council and Ross and Cromarty Enterprise sponsored excavations in order to retrieve the carved fragments and the lower portion of the cross-slab in 1998 and 2001. The location of all the fragments was recorded to the nearest 0.5m square in the hope that this would aid the reconstruction of the lost cross-face. The most significant 800 fragments have been catalogued and photographed and made available to the public here.

Hilton Stone

Lower portion being revealed

While the cataloguing was taking place, much of the middle portion of the cross-slab which had broken into large chunks, were reconstructed, but time and resource considerations meant that only a few elements of the remaining cross-slab could be refitted. The results of the project, which includes archaeology, art history, scientific analysis, ethnography and cultural history, has been published by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland [A Fragmented Masterpiece: Recovering the Biography of the Hilton of Cadboll Pictish Cross-slab, by Heather F James, Isabel Henderson, Sally N Foster and Siân Jones (2008). ISBN 978 0 903903 42 4].

The upper portion of the cross-slab and the 11,252 fragments are held in the National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh, the lower portion is held by the Historic Hilton Trust in the Seaboard Memorial Hall in Balintore.

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