My name is Judith Lok, and I study history of art at the Radboud University in Nijmegen. In 2013, I had the opportunity to apply for the honours programme of my university. I decided that to pursue research on the Picts.
My first encounter with the Picts was during my freshman year. One of my professors, Dr. C.A. Veelenturf, briefly mentioned the Picts, saying that they were a people that lived in Northern Scotland during the migration period. Until this day not much is known about them, and they seem to have been ‘evaporated’ some time in the ninth century. After these remarks he went on with the class, and for most of my fellow students that was that.
I, on the other hand, thought it was completely ridiculous that this was all that we know about a people that once lived on earth. I tried to find more information about the Picts, but it appeared they have made it terribly difficult to understand even a little bit about who they were. I found out, to make things worse, that the Picts did not leave us any written sources (at least no written sources that we can translate yet).
They did leave us their art. Their so-called symbols stones are scattered over the Scottish countryside as silent reminders of the Picts that once lived in there. Many scholars and enthusiasts have tried to explain the Pictish symbols that are displayed on the stone monuments. Ambitious as I was, I thought that I could maybe solve the problem of the Picts. Well, I could not. But I did learn a lot about the Picts and the different theories that scholars have come up with as possible explanations for these strange symbols.
I decided to change my approach and to write a historiographical paper about the authors that have tried to explain the Pictish symbols. During my final presentation within the honours programme I gave a short introduction on the Picts as well as an overview of how scholars have tried to explain these symbols. The best part of my presentation was at the end, when people were given the opportunity to ask questions. Most of them wanted to know more about certain theories or some came up with their own theories, almost everyone was enthusiastic and wanted to help me solve this mystery! I have struggled deeply to finish my honours research within the time reserved for it, but at last I found a means to present my findings, and was able to finish. Hopefully, this website will help others to look at the problem of the Picts. That is the main reason for sharing all the information that I have collected in the past few years. We need more people who can help to solve the problem of the Picts.
I am grateful to the honours programme and for their patience.. Furthermore, I am also thankful to Dr. C.A. Veelenturf for his patience during the research process and for helping me finish this project. A special thanks to my brother Sander, who went to Scotland with me to look at some real Pictish stones and to my fellow student Veerle who has read the entire website to look for errors. Finally, I want to thank my dad for helping me create this website.
Judith Lok, 2019