Scots caves revealed as home to oldest Pictish art
CAVES on the Fife coast have been hailed as the birthplace of Pictish art.
The Wemyss Caves, near East Wemyss, feature the largest collection of in situ Pictish carvings in the world. They include human figures, animals, symbols and a carving of a ship. Now, research suggests they could be the world’s oldest Pictish art.
The five caves were first documented in the 19th century. However, a new interactive model, using laser scans, has enabled researchers to examine the carvings in greater detail and a radiocarbon date has shown the carvings may have appeared between 240-400AD.
The carvings were first identified as Pictish in 1865 by the doctor and antiquarian James Young Simpson – best known for the first use of chloroform as an anaesthetic. They include 49 of only 60 examples of Pictish symbols documented in caves.
Among the most important is that of a boat, thought to be the earliest depiction of a boat in Scotland.