Looking Ahead

While we wait to re-start our talks can we recommend the following.


The second lecture of the 2019/2020 season of the Pictish Arts Society will be held on Friday 18 October.  The venue is the upstairs gallery of Brechin Town House Museum in the High Street.

Dr Alex Woolf will consider Rethinking the disappearance of the Picts: From Pictland to Alba 12 years on.

Fresh from his recent appearance at the Pictish Arts Society Annual Conference in Forfar, Dr Alex Woolf makes a welcome return to our Brechin venue.

In 2007 Alex 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 12 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, for example 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.

Doors open at Brechin Museum at 7.00 pm for a 7.30 pm start. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be available after the talks which are free to members and £3.00 to non-members. All are welcome.

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