The earliest of the 'Early Christian monuments of Scotland' are the dozen, upright, Latin-inscribed pillars of the lands between Solway and Forth, 1 which date from the 5th, 6th and early 7th centuries (Figure 8.1). 2 They are among the least glamorous of Scottish early medieval sculptured stones: four have no decoration at all, five have only simple, incised forms of the chi-rho symbol, one bears a small incised cross. A further two were lost without illustration. Despite their visual plainness these stones have an exceptional historical significance and play a pivotal role in our understanding of northern Britain in the initial, crucial, post-Roman centuries. 3