Burrian Cross Pendant
From the Broch of Burrian, North Ronaldsay, the most remote of the Orkney islands, this cross suggests the presence of Celtic Christianity amidst Pictish culture in the middle years of the first millennium.
North Ronaldsay is the north-most island in the archipelago: from its north end you can often see Fair Isle, the first of the Shetland islands. But the Broch of Burrian lies at the south end, as if to guard against intruders from Sanday and the Orkney mainland. Nobody knows exactly when it was built - perhaps around the time of the birth of Christ - so it's survived well in the face of 2,000 years of storms and successive waves of new populations.
The local landowner excavated it in 1870 - not to modern standards but a lot better than many sites at that time. Amongst dozens of interesting finds, the star was a carved stone cross, further decorated with am inscription in the Ogham writing of the Pictish people. The original is now in the National Museum in Edinburgh, but if you're enchanted by the atmosphere of this unique and beautiful island, you can own Ola's interpretation of the cross: a real Orkney icon.