The Picts

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss The Picts and, to mark our twentieth season, that discussion takes place in front of a student audience at the University of Glasgow, many of them studying this topic. According to Bede writing c731AD, the Picts, with the English, Britons, Scots and Latins, formed one of the five nations of Britain, ‘an island in the ocean formerly called Albion’. The Picts is now a label given to the people who lived in Scotland north of the Forth-Clyde line from about 300 AD to 900 AD, from the time of the Romans to the time of the Vikings. They left intricately carved stones, such as the one above with a bull motif, from Burghead, Moray, Scotland, but there are relatively few other traces. Who were they, and what happened to them? And what has been learned in the last twenty years, through archaeology?

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  • Katherine Forsyth No other episodes
    Reader in the Department of Celtic and Gaelic at the University of Glasgow
  • Alex Woolf 2 episodes
    Senior Lecturer in Dark Age Studies at the University of St Andrews
  • Gordon Noble No other episodes
    Reader in Archaeology at the University of Aberdeen

Reading list

  • Kings and Warriors, Craftsmen and Priests in Northern Britain AD 550-850
    Leslie Alcock (Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 2003) Google Books →
  • Scotland's Early Silver
    Alice Blackwell, Martin Goldberg and Fraser Hunter (National Museums of Scotland, 2017) Google Books →
  • Early Medieval Scotland: Individuals, Communities and Ideas
    David Clarke, Alice Blackwell and Martin Goldberg (National Museums of Scotland, 2012) Google Books →
  • Pictish Progress: New Studies on Northern Britain in the Early Middle Ages
    Stephen T. Driscoll, Jane Geddes and Mark A. Hall (eds.) (Brill, 2010)
  • Picts, Gaels and Scots: Early Historic Scotland
    Sally M. Foster (Birlinn Ltd, 2014) Google Books →
  • The Pictish Symbols of Scotland
    Iain Fraser (ed.) (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, 2008)
  • From Caledonia to Pictland: Scotland to 795
    James Fraser (Edinburgh University Press, 2009) Google Books →
  • The Art of the Picts: Sculpture and Metalwork in Early Medieval Scotland
    George Henderson and Isabel Henderson (Thames and Hudson, 2011) Google Books →
  • The Worm, the Germ and the Thorn: Pictish and Related Studies Presented to Isabel Henderson
    David Henry (ed.) (Pinkfoot Press, 1997) Google Books →
  • Conceiving a Nation: Scotland to 900 AD
    Gilbert Markus (Edinburgh University Press, 2017) Google Books →
  • Literacy in Medieval Celtic Societies
    Huw Pryce (ed.) (Cambridge University Press, 1998) Google Books →
  • From Pictland to Alba: Scotland, 789-1070
    Alex Woolf (Edinburgh University Press, 2007)

Related episodes

Programme ID: b09cvx7b

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Auto-category: 936 (Celts in Britain and Ireland)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello, the Picts, according to Bede, writing in the 8th century, were one of four peoples of Britain, along with the Scots, the Anglo-Saxons and the Britons.