FP100: No. 63

Standing stone at Collessie
Standing stone at Collessie

Collessie Man

In a field near the tiny hamlet of Collesssie stand a Bronze Age standing stone which shows the earliest depiction of a Fifer.

The carvings date from Pictish times, around the 6th to the ­7th century, and the figure is that of a naked warrior.

He carries a rectangular shield and a spear which has a round object on its lower end.

The Romans, who fought only during the summer in Scotland, portrayed their Pictish enemies as naked barbarians.

Both rectangular and circular shields are seen in many Pictish sculpture and there are also carvings on cave walls at East Wemyss, Fife which show similar shields to that carried by ‘Collessie Man’.

The stone stood erect in the field for centuries until the autumn of 1994, when argricultural operations caused it to fall.

The stone was then re-erected in a concrete round base and was cleaned by Historic Scotland in August 1995.

A small scale excavation carried out at the time suggested that the stone had been levered into a pre-prepared pit and then soil and small pebbles chocked around the base as consolidation with larger cobbles inserted as packing.