Cross slab (piece)

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from Brough of Birsay, Orkney

Postcard of Cross slab (piece).
© National Museums Scotland

Cross slab (piece)

This piece of sandstone incised with a cross was found at the Brough of Birsay in Orkney. It may have been a motif piece for a craftsman or perhaps is part of a grave marker. It dates from between 900 and 1100.

The slab has been smoothed on both sides. The incised cross is fragmentary, but has expanded arms and a rectangular base depicted in a double outline.

The first Scandinavian settlers in Orkney were pagans. Unlike Christians, they were buried with a range of grave goods, but without grave markers. Few such burials appear to date much into the 10th century, suggesting that Christianity was increasingly adopted by people after this time.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-040-663-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.HB 607
Date: Between 900 and 1100
Material: Sandstone, flaggy; one side dressed; incised cross with expanded rectangular arms on rectangular base; incomplete
Dimensions: 115 mm D x 22 mm
What: Stone
Where: Scotland, Orkney, Brough of Birsay
Description: Stone with an incised cross, from Birsay, Orkney
  • Curle, C.L. Pictish and Norse finds from the Brough of Birsay, 1973-74. Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Monograph Series 1, 1982, pp 70, 92, 120. 
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