Torvean Pictish chain

02 June 2012

News Type:
Find of the Month

This silver chain was found at Torvean on the outskirts of Inverness in 1808 during building works for the Caledonian Canal. It is made of solid silver, and weighs 2.88 kg. Around a dozen such chains have been found in Scotland, with the Torvean chain being the heaviest and farthest north example. They are commonly associated with the Picts, since two chains had Pictish symbols etched on their terminals. Unfortunately, the terminal ring for the Torvean chain was lost soon after its discovery. Although thought to be Pictish, most of the chains are found in southern Scotland, outwith the Pictish heartland. They are interpreted as badges of high status, and date between 400 and 800.

Further information:

Highland Council HER record MHG3800

Sally M. Foster 2004. Picts, Gaels and Scots, esp. p 74.

Photo courtesy of Walter Dempster.

Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands (ARCH), The Goods Shed, The Old Station, Strathpeffer, Ross-Shire, Scotland IV14 9DH
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