A Tour of a Multi-Period Cave in use from the Late Bronze Age - Early Medieval period.
The Entrance to Sculptor's Cave, the cave was given its name due to the Pictish Carvings (600 - 800 CE) which embellish the entrance walls.
Inside Sculptor's Cave
Inside Sculptor's Cave looking to the West and East entrances respectively.
Sculptor's Cave: a place of ritual importance
Sculptor’s Cave is located in north-east Scotland on the south shore of the Moray Firth, close to the village of Covesea. It is almost inaccessible, except at low tide, which requires a walk and scramble along the beach before climbing up to the twin entrances at the mouth of the cave.
The symbols, which include Pictish multiple crescent and V-rods, a mirror, a fish, pentacles, a triple oval, and a flower.
The cave was first excavated by Sylvia Benton between 1928 and 1930, when the peeling back of the layers of sand deposited on the cave floor revealed burnt deposits of black and red soils, and evidence for stone-built hearths. A substantial number of objects were discovered within these layers, which suggested that people were using the cave from the Late Bronze Age through to the medieval period. Many of these finds were quite spectacular, including a distinctive Late Bronze Age metal assemblage as well as a rich collection of finds from the Roman Iron Age (Benton 1931; Armit and Schulting 2007). A significant amount of human remains were also found during the excavations that took place here.
Researchers have shown that most of the human bone can be dated to two distinct periods of activity; the first and most intensive use is in the Late Bronze Age, between the 12th and the 10th century BCE; a second concentration is in the Roman Iron Age, between the 1st and the 4th century AD. The decapitations, which are focussed in the second phase, have been interpreted as executions ‘carried out in a place of ritual importance at a time of rapid political change’ (Armit et al 2011).