2.3.5 Analysis

In terms of analysis, the field has been dominated by Isabel Henderson who has published a series of important art-historical analyses of Pictish sculpture (for further reading, download the Section 10.3 pdf  413kb), culminating in the jointly authored Art of the Picts (Henderson and Henderson 2004). Her retiral was marked by the publication of a festschrift which brought together numerous studies of diverse aspects of Pictish and related sculpture (Henry 1997). Other important art-historical contributions have been made by Fisher 2005, Hawkes (1997; 2005; 2008), G Henderson (2013), Mac Lean (1985; 1993; 1997), Trench-Jellicoe (1997; 2005) and others (including L Alcock 1993a; Hall 2011; 2012b; Kilpatrick 2011; Kruse 2013; Meyer 2005; 2011) (see Geddes 2011 for a detailed overview of art-historical research).

Since the late 1980s archaeological approaches have been increasingly brought to bear on Scotland’s early medieval carved stones (see, for example, Driscoll 1988; Hall 2005a; 2011; Gondek 2006a) and the field is ever more active and diverse. In addition to works mentioned either above or below, topics addressed in the past 30 years include: Pictish symbol-stones (Inglis 1987; Elizabeth Alcock 1988; Driscoll 1988; Mack 1998; Samson 1992; Forsyth 1997; Gondek 2015), archaeological context (James 2005; Mack 1998); dating (Laing 2000); architectural sculpture (Foster 2015b; Gondek 2015); the importance of fragments (Henderson 2005); stones as expressions of power and lordship (Driscoll 1988; 2000; Forsyth and Driscoll 2009; Gondek 2006b) the major collections at Meigle (Hall 2014; Ritchie 1995); and Iona (Driscoll 1988; Hawkes 2005, 2008; Mac Lean 1993) and the Ruthwell Cross (Orton et al. 2007; Ó Carragáin 2005).

To mark the 100th anniversary of the publication of ECMS an interdisciplinary conference ‘Able Minds and Practised Hands’ was organised by Historic Scotland, the Society for Medieval Archaeology and the National Committee on Carved Stones in Scotland (Foster and Cross 2005). It was the largest conference ever devoted to early medieval sculpture in Scotland, and certainly the most interdisciplinary (Case Study 18: Disciplinary collaboration). A local initiative to raise awareness of the important collection at Govan gave rise to a conference (Ritchie 1994a), a programme of archaeological excavation, and a series of annual lectures, some of which have touched on carved stones (Crawford 2005; Ritchie 2004; Case Study 1: Making a Difference). Further academic research (Craig 1994; Driscoll et al. 2005) has informed ongoing efforts to preserve and present the sculpture, which have in turn prompted further research. Published annual lectures at Whithorn and at the Groam House Museum, Rosemarkie, have similarly presented research on the wider context of major sculpture collections, as well as directly on aspects of the stones themselves.

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