The Homes of the Picts

The mysterious Picts (so-called by the Romans) lived throughout Scotland the Romans arrived, during the Roman occupation, and for several centuries after the Romans left.  No one knows for sure their origins—from the ancient local populations, Ireland, Spain, Norway,  or somewhere else. Elements of their language, culture, and art was unique to their people—a topic of discussion for another day and post. 

Pictish Settlements

The range of Pictish settlements that have been discovered is very broad and depends on the location and resources available for building. The Picts left brochs (round stone towers), souterrains (underground storage passages that were used as food stores ceremonial use, or hideouts.), crannogs (houses built over the lochs), and round houses which often surrounded the Iron Age brochs or hillforts for protection.  Most of what survives today is constructed of stone and found in the Northern and Western Isles.   

Mousa Broch


The southern Picts built with more perishable materials, such as timber and turf.  The settlements of the southern Picts are no longer visible other than in the higher glens. Excavations at Pitcarmick in Perthshire revealed very long, broad, round-ended turf buildings the purpose of which is unknown. No Pictish palaces survive but some remains were identified at Forteviot in Strathearn. Forteviot stood on important trade routes, surrounded by rich agricultural land.

Pictish House

The Picts became Christians and eventually disappeared, absorbed by the Scots—but more on that another day. 

Tomorrow, At Home with the Scots      RitaBay


Filed under Wednesday's Words

4 responses to “The Homes of the Picts

    • Hi Sue, The construction, either as homes or tombs, has been common across Western Europe for thousands of years. I lived in a new TRULLI for two years in Southern Italy. The old ones are World Heritage sites: The construction is fairly simple, often with no mortar. In old times, there was a ceiling that created a room in the cone part of the structure – often used for storage and sleeping. Rita

  1. careed

    wish for detailed maps

    • Hi Careed, Sorry for slow response. Email did not arrive in my box until today (?). The Picts were a people, probably Celtic, who lived in north Scotland. They were believed to have seven kingdoms with chieftains who governed the areas. There are numerous maps of the area, but the Wikipedia link has loads of info that might be useful in addition to the map. Here’s the link: Hope this helps. Rita

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