MHG3788 - Knocknagael Boar Stone


The former site of the Knocknagael Boar Stone.

Type and Period (1)

  • INSCRIBED STONE (Early Medieval - 561 AD to 1057 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Full description of Stone. Height 6' 9"; breadth 7' 2"; thickness 1' 1 1/2". Metric dimensions - 2m x 2.2m x 0.31m.
D Butler 1926; W Jolly 1882; J Stuart 1856; J R Allen and J Anderson 1903. <1>-<4>

Very full description in Inverness FC 1920 Vol IX, p154 onwards.<5>

Knocknagael Boar Stone: A roughly shaped slab. At the top is incised the mirror-case symbol and below the figure of a wild boar. The round part of the mirror case is ornamented with a circle and a central dot and the boar has spiral curves on the body. <6>

This large, upright, sculptured stone is as described above. A MoW. Plaque at the side describes this "The Knocknagael Boarstone" - 5th - 8th century AD. Pictish symbol stone. It is protected by a high wire fence.
Visited by OS (JLD) 22 March 1962.

Transferred in March 1991 to foyer of Highland Regional Council Chambers, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness (NH64SE 64).

Excavation was undertaken around stone prior to its removal to its new protected location (supra). Work was limited to small Guardianship area, and was further reduced by immense disturbance caused by fence foundations. Guardianship gravel overlay a layer of blackened cobbles which dipped below stone itself. Both were rich in glass and pottery fragments of recent date. And probably derived from local pastime of hurling bottles at stone from passing cars. Beneath this was natural gravel subsoil, and it was clear that stone was not on original site. 2 finds of interest, both unstratified. Were noted. These consisted of a small, unretouched and undiagnostic flint flake and a broken glass bead of recent date. Neither relate to stone.
Highland Regional Council 1994. <7>

Class I symbol stone bearing a boar surmounted by a mirror-case.
A.Mack 1997 p.111 <8>

See Photo of Boar Stone, circa 1960 at Knocknagael. Photo from Mr King. <9>

Included in a catalogue of the Pictish Symbol Stones at Inverness Museum & Art Gallery, original version 1994, updated 2010. The stone is on display in Highland Council Headquarters. The stone is described as having an incised mirror case symbol ornamented with a circle and central dot to the top. Below is the figure of a wild boar, with decorative scrolling to represent the muscle structure. <10>

A watching brief took place in March 2010 during the excavation of a passing place being formed over this findspot. An area of cobbles was identified and photographed. <11>

The flint flake and bead from the 1994 excavation are listed under Acc. No. 2004.067.001 and 2004.067.002 in Inverness Museum. <12>

Knocknagael, Inverness-shire, Pictish symbol stone
Measurements: H 2.06m +, W 2.18m, D 0.36
Stone type: slate
Place of discovery: c NH656 413
Present location: in the foyer of Highland Council Headquarters, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness.
Evidence for discovery: in the mid nineteenth century it stood in a field on Knocknagael Farm, and it was subsequently moved to the edge of the field, close to the road. In 1991 it was taken to its present location in Inverness.
Present condition: good.
This large irregularly shaped slab bears on one broad face two incised Pictish symbols: a disc and rectangle (or ‘mirror-case’), and close below it a very finely delineated boar. The boar paces towards the right, bristles erect along his back, with well-drawn spiral joints.
Date: seventh century.
References: Stuart 1856, pl 18; ECMS pt 3, 103-5; Fraser 2008, no 113.
Early Medieval Carved Stones Project, Compiled by A Ritchie 2017

Sources/Archives (70)



Grid reference Centred NH 6567 4134 (21m by 20m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH64SE
Geographical Area INVERNESS

Finds (3)

  • SYMBOL STONE (Pictish to Early Medieval - 300 AD to 1057 AD)
  • FLAKE (Undated)
  • BEAD (Undated)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (2)

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