Saving the Wemyss Caves: thirty years of SWACS

Pictish boat carving

Carving of a boat in Jonathan’s Cave.


With considerable regret I’ve had to turn down an invitation to speak about the Picts at an important event happening in Fife next month. Personal circumstances mean I am unable to travel to Scotland on the weekend in question. The event is the 30th anniversary of SWACS, the group behind the campaign to preserve the famous caves on the shoreline at East Wemyss. Many of you will know that the walls of these caves are inscribed with Pictish carvings, one of which shows a boat propelled by oars.

I’ll be sorry to miss what will surely be an exciting afternoon of Pict-related info and discussion. The range of topics can be seen on the leaflet below:

Save Wemyss Ancient Caves Society

Attendance is free and is open to all. To reserve a place, use the online booking form at Eventbrite via this link.

If you haven’t already visited the Wemyss Caves it’s not too late to have a guided tour. The final tours of 2016 are taking place this Sunday (25th September) as part of Scottish Archaeology Month. Tours start from the SWACS Environmental Centre in the basement of East Wemyss Primary School. The Centre will be open on that day from 2.00pm-4.30pm, but you’ll need to arrive before 3.00pm if you want to join a tour.

SWACS (Save Wemyss Ancient Caves Society) also has a website and a Facebook page.

Photographs of two of the caves, together with illustrations of some of the Pictish carvings, can be found in a blogpost I wrote last year: Pictish carvings at the Wemyss Caves.

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4 comments on “Saving the Wemyss Caves: thirty years of SWACS

  1. ritaroberts says:

    Oh what a shame you have to miss this. I wish I was near enough to go myself. I love Cave engravings.

    • Tim says:

      With any luck I’ll catch one of those guided tours in the next year or two – hopefully with photos of some of the carvings to upload in a blogpost here.

  2. dearieme says:

    Forgive me if I’ve asked this before. Has anyone collected Pictish DNA? If so, does it appear much different from other contemporary DNA of the British Isles?

    • Tim says:

      I’m no expert on the genetic data but I’ve heard of “Pictish” DNA being identified among modern populations in studies conducted from an ancestry/genealogy viewpoint. Not sure if any ancient DNA has been collected from Pictish sites (presumably graves?).

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