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Image and imagination: The Inchmarnock 'hostage stone'

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Chapter Summary

Excavation to the north of the medieval St Marnock's church on the island of Inchmarnock, off the west coast of Bute, has revealed the remains of what is interpreted as an early monastic enclosure, together with a number of workshops and an exceptional number of pieces of inscribed slate. The decorated and inscribed slate assemblage includes examples of abstract designs and casual graffiti but also what are clearly practice pieces for the composition of more complex designs. This chapter explores 'Hostage Stone' iconography and considers what story the image depicts. The purpose of the stone is less clear but its very form, as a simple water-worn pebble that was picked up off the beach, suggests that it was a piece of ephemera.

Keywords: 'Hostage Stone'; Inchmarnock; St Marnock's church



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