Friday, 19 November 2010

Another Pictish Homage - Mile-End at Beechwood.

Having felt all brave and urban-explorerey looking round Oakbank, we needed to recouperate and sit down and have a nice refreshing and relaxing sip of tea from our flasks. So, looking for a nice place to rest, we found ourselves sitting on the un-dry-stane dyke at the entrance to the new Mile End School off Midstocket Road. The new Mile-End School is on the site of the former Beechwood School, which was for kids with special educational needs. Both schools are integrated now and the former Mile-End School sits empty to the east, about a half mile down Midstocket Road. We'll be keeping an eye on that.

Guarding the entrance to the new school is this homage to the Pictish Symbol Stones which are strewn all over Pict-land from the Forth to Shetland. We've noted the sculptor's work before, at Ruthrieston Pocket Park.

There have been about 350 known Pictish stones discovered to date. Historic Scotland have put together an excellent website which gives lots of information about the Picts and the artifacts and enigmas they left us to wonder over and waste our time blabbering on about. 

There are no doubt many, many more which have been ploughed under fields, biding their time and keeping their council, leaving us to guess and speculate on the nature of the Pictish enigma and their obscure symbol-language. Doubtless many more languish undiscovered, hidden in plain sight having been incorporated into more recent buildings or walls like the Brandsbutt Stone at Inverurie, which has now been restored. 

We don't know what we think about that. Certainly the stone should have been rescued from where it had been unthinkingly secreted -  unseen and unstudied. But some might suggest that the Blue Peter-y concrete patch 'restoration' almost mocks the stone.

Like the Brandsbutt Stone, the new sculpture at Mile-End School shows a "V-Rod" symbol in combination with a crescent.

Beneath the V-Rod and crescent we see a "Z-Rod" in combination with a "Double Sun". As mentioned above, the meaning of the symbols is obscure, but some analysts suggest that the V-Rod is a symbol of death, and that the Z-Rod in comination with the double-disk (or double-sun) represents the solar cycle and by association the cycle of life, death and rebirth into an afterlife. So maybe the sculpture represents the re-birth of the school in its new location.

Beneath the pictograms, we see an inscription in the Ogham alphabet which we can transliterate thus:


Though perhaps we've gone wrong somewhere.

The new school with Foresterhill behind, looking to the skyscrapers of Cairncry

Autumn suits Midstocket Road

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