According to a new study, the Picts of Scotland, who are also referred to as Painted People, may have created their own unique written language 1,700 years ago.
The Picts have been called Painted People because they covered themselves so elaborately in war paint and tattoos that they frightened the Romans into eventually leaving Scotland alone, giving up their quest for domination and their intense desire to include Scotland as part of the Roman Empire. Fiercely intense, the Picts sometimes even attacked Roman soldiers unprovoked to further deter them from Scotland, yet new research now suggests that during that time, the Picts may have used Romans as inspiration to form their own written language that is now known as Runes, as Live Science reports.
The mysterious written language of the Painted People has been discovered on stones, metalwork, bones, and numerous other ancient artifacts and lead author Gordon Noble, who is head of archaeology at the University of Aberdeen, has explained that researchers have slowly come to the conclusion that the symbols the Picts drew in Scotland were most likely their own special language.
“In the last few decades, there has been a growing consensus that the symbols on these stones are an early form of language.”
However, up until recently, researchers were not sure whether this language would have developed over time as some scholars have suggested that the symbols were created long after the Romans had exited Britain.
— Live Science (@LiveScience) October 26, 2018
To discover whether the Picts formed their own language before or after the Roman occupation of Britain, researchers involved in the Northern Picts Project recently performed excavations at different sites where there had been Pictish symbols found previously. At one particular site known as Dunnicaer, scientists discovered the remnants of an ancient fort that would have been occupied between 200 and 400 AD. This showed that the written symbols of the Picts would also have dated back to this time, suggesting that written language existed long before Romans left Britain.
Scientists excavating another site known as Rhynie also discovered a wooden structure that would have been in use from 400 to 600 AD, where symbols had also been found. After completing their excavations, researchers determined that the Picts first developed their written language between 300 and 400 AD, and may have been influenced by the Romans system of writing, nothing, “As with Runes and Ogham, the Pictish symbols were also probably created beyond the frontier in response to Roman literacy.”
The new study which has linked the written language of the Picts with that of the Romans has been published in Antiquity.