If like me, you’re an ancient history nerd, it’ll come as good news that Dundee and its surrounding area is home to many ancient sites, and here are just a few of them!
Martin’s Stone is a 6th Century Pictish stone that can be found in a field near Bridgefoot in Angus. I wrote another blog post about the legend of the dragon behind it, which can be found here.
Balgarthno Stone Circle
The remnants of this stone circle can be found in the football field on Myrekirk Road, nearby the Myrkirk Roundabout and Asda. This monument was once part of a much larger ancient structure that included a now-removed Druid Temple on the grounds of Camperdown Park. When excavated, a prehistoric jet ring and pieces of flint were discovered and yet despite this, the site came under threat of development by an Asda superstore, which now exists only a short distance away. The stones are now surrounded by a protective green fence with an information board, and though the heel stone has suffered some vandalism, the circle has held out especially well. It is also thought that up to 12 ley lines cross the site.
Meigle Sculptured Stone Museum
Meigle is a village that lies a half an hour drive from Dundee, and is home to a variety of Pictish stones. The museum is to the right as you face the church, and being only a small yet spectacular museum, the staff are always on hand to lend some knowledge and answer questions. Perhaps the most famous stone within the museum is ‘Vanora’s Stone’. While some theorise that the figure surrounded by lion-like creatures on the stone represents Daniel and the Lion’s Den, there is another theory that pegs the story upon the stone as the execution of the Arthurian Queen Guinivere – or Vanora. Legend has it that after her capture and imprisonment upon Barry Hill by Mordred, Guinevere was executed by being torn apart by wild beasts. Her grave is thought to lie in the back left corner of the graveyard, marked by a plaque as “Vanora’s Mound”.
Not far at all from the sculptured stone museum at the Belmont Centre, is a mammoth of a stone (4m) known as “Macbeth’s Stone”. Though subject to much vandalism, there are still some cup marks visible on both of its faces. This stone receives its name from the surrounding area being closely associated with Shakespeare’s telling of King Macbeth’s: the nearby Glamis Castle said to be his home, and Birnam Wood lying near Dunkeld. While Shakespeare’s famous play pegs Macbeth as a tragic hero, he was, in fact, a just king who reigned successfully for 17 years.
These are just a few of the ancient sites that Dundee and its surrounding landscape has to offer, and with a bit of hunting and OS map scouring, there are many more lying in wait to be discovered!