Pictish Arts Society resume lecture series

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The first lecture of 2014 for the Pictish Arts Society is set to take place on Friday, March 21, with Peter Yeoman the speaker for the night.

The talk, held at Pictavia, marks the return of the Pictish Arts Society’s lecture series, following a three month break over the winter period.

The title of Peter’s lecture is ‘Making Meaning out of Myth: rediscovering Columban Iona’.

This lecture will focus on the results of recent research into the abbey’s archaeology and collections, carried out as part of the Historic Scotland project to help the visitors and pilgrims who come to Columba’s isle to achieve a better understanding of the unique contribution that Columba’s monastery made to European Christian scholarship, theology, creativity and law-making.

One result is a new permanent exhibition of the largest and most important collection of early medieval high crosses and cross slabs in Britain and Ireland. Peter will examine the events which led to the creation of the monumental high crosses - St Oran’s, St John’s and St Martin’s in the mid 700s.

Peter Yeoman is principal researcher in Heritage Research at Historic Scotland. He joined Historic Scotland as an Inspector of Ancient Monuments in 1999, having been the county archaeologist for Fife for the 10 years prior to that. He, along with the cultural resources team, is responsible for developing new understandings of the 345 properties in the care of Scottish Ministers, to aid visitor understanding and to advance scholarship.

Peter leads on research and archaeological management for major projects, most recently at St Vigeans, then at James V’s Palace in Stirling Castle, and for the Iona Abbey redisplay project.

Twenty-five years ago Peter directed the excavations for the tunnel project in Edinburgh Castle, pushing the origins of the defensive use of the Castle Rock back to the Bronze Age. The wheel has now turned full circle and he is once again braving the elements high above the city to reveal far more about the complex development of ‘the first and principal strength of the realm’. This is to inform an ambitious planned programme of improvements to the visitor experience.

But he comes to Pictavia to reveal more about the early history of Iona Abbey as Scotland’s most sacred place.

Doors open at Pictavia at 7 for a 7.30 p.m. start. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be available before and after the talks. The talks are free to members and £2.50 to non-members.