Dark Ages Fort Built by Mysterious ‘Painted People’ Found in Scotland

Pictish_FortA fort that is more than 1,000 years old, dating back to the time of Alfred the Great, has been unearthed in Scotland, more than 200 years after it was thought to have been completely destroyed.

The ancient fort was built by the Picts, a loose confederation of tribes who lived in what is now Scotland during the Dark Ages. The fort was likely a major source of power for the Pictish kingdom between A.D. 500 and 1000. In the 1800s, a town was built over the ancient stronghold, known as Burghead Fort, and most archaeologists thought the last remaining traces of the fort were destroyed at that time.

Almost nothing survives of the mysterious Pictish culture, including the name they called themselves. The Romans first mentioned the Picts, which means “painted people,” likely because of their distinctive tattoos and war paint. However, relatively few Pictish writings survive, and much of what historians know about the Picts’ early history comes from the accounts of Roman speechwriters such as Eumenius.


Photo Credit: University of Aberdeen

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