Tarland is a village around 30 miles west of Aberdeen, Scotland, where I lived, and worked for around 15 years until 2005. It lies in the Howe of Cromar, which has particularly good agricultural land that has made it favourable as an area of continuous settlement since pre- history. Evidence of early settlement is found in many places including the 4000 year old Tomnaverie recumbent stone circle, which overlooks the village from a small hill around half a mile to the south.
Partly destroyed through quarrying activities, the stone circle was restored to its original formation in the late 90’s, in a project driven by the Tarland History group, who drew in support from Historic Scotland. The project was complex; involving completely a complete excavation of the site, before returning all the stones, including the collapsed flanker stone to what was decided by the team of archaeologists, was their original position.
A network of paths was laid, including one leading from the village to the stone circle, by the Tarland Development Group who decided to commission a piece of artwork to mark the beginning of the route, and the start of the new Millennium.
When I was approached by the group, they chose a piece of work I had recently made; three granite ovoids, carved with lines inspired by symbols drawn from the vocabulary of Picts. I decided to fix these forms to a large slab of pink granite I selected from a local quarry, onto which I inscribed the words “In the beginning”. I hoped to sculpture would echo the recumbent style of Tomnaverie, and also serve as a resting point where people could sit, trace the lines on the stones, and possibly contemplate their many predecessors.
Tarland Millennium Commission, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.