The Pictish Arts Society


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Forthcoming Events


Winter Lecture Series


4th Lecture of our winter series.

Dr Alex Woolf

Rethinking the disappearance of the Picts: From Pictland to Alba 13 years on.


In 2007, Dr Alex Woolf published From Pictland to Alba, 789-1070, a book that has become essential reading for anyone interested in the Picts. Using the fragmentary historical sources available, the book examines the decline and disappearance of the Picts, their language and culture. It charts the concurrent rise of the Gaelic-speaking Scots who replaced them as the dominant cultural and political force in what was once Pictavia, leading to the emergence of the new kingdom of Alba.

In the 13 years since publication, much has changed, not least in Alex’ own mind. Many scholars now subscribe to his proposition that relocates the pre-eminent Pictish kingdom of Fortriu to the Moray Firth area. His suggested relocation for the pivotal battle of Dunnichen from Angus to the upper Spey valley continues to spark debate. And of course, much archaeological evidence has come to light in the intervening years, not least from Aberdeen University’s Northern Picts project.

So with all this in mind, Alex will use this talk as an opportunity to review how his thinking on the disappearance of the Picts has changed since 2007. In particular, he will focus on the role of Cinaed mac Ailpín and his dynasty. He will examine the meaning and usage of the word Alba and the appearance of the term Scottas for the ruler of the northern kingdom.

Dr Alex Woolf was educated at the University of Sheffield where he read Medieval English and Medieval History as an undergraduate and undertook postgraduate studies in the Department of Archaeology. Since leaving Sheffield he has lectured in Archaeology at the University of Wales, Lampeter and in Celtic and Early Scottish History and Culture at Edinburgh. He has been lecturing in history at the University of St Andrews since 2001. His research and teaching has largely focused on Britain and Ireland in the pre-Norman era.


Zoom link will be provided to members.




Picts in the North:


The Conan Stone in Context virual conference will take place on 13 and 14 March 2021.

This is a joint conference with SSNS, PAS and NOSAS.

More details and booking form on the SSNS website: