I’ve not had more than a cursory glance at Street View until this week when I decided to take a look at some of my old haunts. Later it occurred to me that some early medieval monuments might turn up there, especially the ones in roadside locations. So I searched under “Aberlemno” and found myself in the lane next to the church. By panning sideways I was able to peer over the kirkyard wall and got a nice view of the front face of the Pictish cross-slab (the one with the battle scene on the back). I then followed the lane up to the main road, turned right and headed east until I came to the tall (9 feet high) roadside stone which I was able to view at close quarters. When I zoomed in on the carvings they were fairly clear and well-defined, with minimal blurring. A second search took me to the other side of Scotland, to a road called Carnach Crescent in Barrhead on the outskirts of Paisley. After following the Crescent for a few hundred metres I arrived at a road-junction where a sculptured stone stands on a raised base. This is the Arthurlie Cross, a broken cross-shaft with Celtic interlace patterns. It dates to the 10th century and was erected by the Strathclyde Britons, its design showing the influence of the “Govan School” of stonecarving. Again, the detail on the stone showed up quite clearly.
Whatever one’s personal opinion of Street View (e.g. the debate about privacy) it seems a useful tool for making ‘virtual visits’ to ancient monuments – or at least the ones conveniently sited beside a road.