Pin from Avielochan

01 April 2012

News Type:
Find of the Month

This copper alloy (bronze) pin was said to have been found under a cairn at Avielochan in Strathspey. The head of the pin is decorated with lines in a cruciform pattern. The shape and decoration suggest that is of 11th or 12th century date. Other examples have been found in Portmahomack (Inverness Museum and Art Gallery), Fendom Sands near Tain, and further to the south in Highland Perthshire, and there are also Irish parallels.

The pin is one a small number of objects dating to the medieval period found in the area, showing settlement at the time. Other finds include annular brooches from Nethy Bridge and Grantown featured as the Find of the Month on the ARCH website in January 2012. This example is fairly early, however, and dates to the period of either control in the area by Earls of Moray or new settlement from the south. Its findspot under stones at the base of a cairn is unusual, and not easily explained.
The pin is in the National Museums of Scotland.

Further Information:
Cash, C.G. 1909-10. ‘Archaeological notes form Aviemore,’ Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 44, 190-203.
Newman, Conor 1995. ‘The pin from Area 2’ in J.S. Rideout. ‘Carn Dubh, Moulin, Perthshire: survey and excavation of an archaeological landscape 1987-90,' Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 125, 155-7.

This pin was researched as part of the Upper Speyside Community Timeline class. The display is currently at Explore Abernethy until 20th April, and it will then be shown at the ARCH Festival Taking Part in Your Past at Dingwall on 21st April.

Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands (ARCH), The Goods Shed, The Old Station, Strathpeffer, Ross-Shire, Scotland IV14 9DH
Tel: +44 (0)77888 35466 Email: