Suenos Stone


The Sueno’s Stone

Standing over 6m high, Sueno’s Stone is Scotland’s tallest surviving cross-slab and is one of the most richly carved examples of Pictish art in Scotland.

The name, Sueno’s Stone, was invented in the 18th century when the stone was discovered buried in the ground. It has no bearing on the origin of the monument. Only the stone itself and its location can give any hint of why and when it was created and on whose orders.

The Picts, the descendents or native born Iron Age tribes, occupied the lands north of the Forth-Clyde estuaries from the 3rd century AD.

Few documents associated with the Picts have survived, but a lasting reminder of their existence, and importance, is the 200 or so symbol stones, each displaying a rich variety of carvings, scattered throughout the country.

The stones may have featured in burial rituals or served as personal memorials. That we do not know exactly what the symbols represent only adds to the air of mystery surrounding the Picts.

The earliest stones, dating to around the 6th century, are those on which the symbols are cut directly into the natural stone. They are concentrated in Grampian and around the Moray Firth.

The later stones, dating from about the 8th century, are cross-slabs, carved in relief or carved on dressed slabs. On these later stones the Christian cross dominates the traditional symbols.

Sueno’s Stone, dating from the 9th or 10th century, was among the last to be carved and has been described as a “fitting close to the great sculptural school of the Moray Firth area”.

Now enclosed in its own glass case to protect it from the elements, Sueno’s Stone can be found close to the A96 at the Eastern end of Forres.