2. Current state of knowledge

Our current understandings of carved stones are predominantly structured by chronological and curatorial-based perspectives, but there is no single or standardized way of categorizing them. The historiographies below and Sources in Section 10 adopt the carved stone groupings used by the NCCSS and others to discuss and frame their work (e.g. Scottish Executive 2005). However, we found as we 'tested' these through reading, researching and writing that we needed to refine and qualify them for the purposes of this exercise, to provide greater clarity and minimize chronological overlap. Our headings are therefore prehistoric rock art, Roman, early medieval, later medieval, architectural sculpture, gravestones, public monuments, and heritage and conservation. It will be apparent that carved stones are so diverse that it is challenging to cover all types, and relevant research literature, particularly from later periods, is inevitably (and rightly) very diffuse. This makes it particularly challenging to draw together from the starting point of carved stones. However, we have begun here a process that we hope will invite future improvements and developments.

2.1 Prehistoric rock art

2.2 Roman 

2.3 Early medieval

2.4 Later medieval

2.5 Architectural sculpture

2.6 Gravestones

2.7 Public monuments

2.8 Heritage and conservation