The Glenmorangie Research Project on Early Medieval Scotland began in 2008 and since then has been generating exciting new research on this important period of Scotland’s past.

The project was born when The Glenmorangie Company was inspired by the stunning Hilton of Cadboll stone, on display in the Museum’s Early People gallery. The stone was found near the Glenmorangie distillery in Tain, Easter Ross and has been used as inspiration for the company’s brand logo.

When was the Early Medieval period?

The Early Medieval or Early Historic period (around AD 300 – 900) is a very important part of Scotland’s past – coming immediately before the birth of the earliest political entity known as ‘Scotland’. Yet, it is not very well known; to many people it needs situating in time in relation to more familiar periods – the Romans coming just before, and the Vikings appearing just after.

The project is undertaking a massive amount of new research on the archaeology of this period. Beautiful, elaborate and sophisticated objects, sculptured stones, and manuscripts were produced in Scotland during this time.

Norries Law plaques

Above: Silver plaques found at Norrie's Law in Fife.

Bringing the past to life

An important aspect of the partnership and research has been working with contemporary craftspeople to make versions of objects from this period. These artistic commissions give us a unique opportunity to gain insights into people and society that made and used them. You can explore the making of these commissions here.

The Pictish throne in the Glenmorangie distillery

Above: Recreation of a Pictish throne in the Glenmorangie distillery.

These commissions can be seen in our free exhibition, Creative Spirit, which runs at National Museum of Scotland from 25 October - 23 February 2014.

Publishing the past

Early medieval scotland

The findings of the Glenmorangie Research Project are revealed in an illustrated book which uses objects to explore the lives of individuals and communities during this period, as well as their ideas and ideologies.

The book presents a re-evaluation of this key period of Scotland's past, a time that saw the creation of some of the most treasured and enigmatic objects from within the National Museum of Scotland's collections.

Early Medieval Scotland: Individuals, Communities and Ideas by David Clarke, Alice Blackwell and Martin Goldberg is published by National Museums Scotland and can be purchased from the online shop.

Award winning project

The project was a winner at the Arts and Business Scottish Awards 2010 and the Hollis Sponsorship UK Awards 2011.