Highlands & Islands

Easter Ross's Nigg cross-slab restoration completed

Detail on the Nigg cross-slab. Pic: Nigg Old Trust
Image caption Detail on the Nigg cross-slab which dates from the 8th Century AD

Conservation work on an intricately carved Pictish stone from Easter Ross has been completed.

The Nigg cross-slab dates from the 8th Century AD and features snakes and a depiction of monks receiving bread from a raven sent by God.

Nigg Old Trust received grants towards the £170,000 restoration project.

The monument was taken to a workshop in Edinburgh and has been put back on display at 16th Century Nigg Old Church.

The cross-slab is one of Scotland's greatest art treasures, according to the trust.

The stone's entry in the Highland Historic Environment database describes it as being intricately carved.

Image caption The stone is displayed inside Nigg Old Church

In 1727 the stone was blown down in a storm but re-erected against the east gable of the church, according to the database.

In later years it was broken while being moved to give access to a burial vault and re-erected upside down. Eventually it was moved inside the church.

A broken piece of the cross-slab was found in a nearby burn in 1998. It was reattached during the restoration work.

Nigg Old Trust chairman Elizabeth Budge said the support of grant aid had been essential to the project.

She said: "Despite unexpected problems with the condition of the monument our team of talented and skilful experts has delivered a superb conclusion to this project.

"Adjectives such as 'spectacular' and 'inspiring' have already been used to describe the new display of this most important historical artefact."

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