Cross slab

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Found at Doid Mhairi, near Port Ellen, Islay, Inner Hebrides

Postcard of Cross slab.
© National Museums Scotland

Cross slab

This cross slab was found at Doid Mhairi ('Mary's Croft'), near Port Ellen on Islay in the Inner Hebrides. The style of the cross head is in a Scandinavian artistic tradition, suggesting that the cross was erected by a Christian Norseman.

The slab is decorated on one side only. Above the slightly irregular cross are two discs probably intended to represent the sun and the moon. Each side of the shaft has an irregular ribbon interlace with foliage terminals.

The Scandinavians who first raided and settled the Northern and Western Isles were pagans, and buried their dead with an array of grave goods. Gradually their descendants, and possibly newcomers, converted to Christianity.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-043-501-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.IB 196
Date: Between 1000 and 1100
c. 11th century
Material: Stone; rudely formed Celtic cross on the face and representations of the Sun and Moon
Dimensions: 1430 mm H x 240 mm L x 370 mm W
Where: Scotland, Argyll, Islay, Kildalton, Port Ellen, Doid Mhari
Description: Norse cross slab with representations of the sun and the moon, from Doid Mhari, Islay, c. 11th century
  • Close-Brooks, J. & Stevenson, R.B.K. Dark Age Sculpture. Edinburgh: HMSO, 1982 
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