Peter Yeoman

Peter Yeoman

Peter Yeoman is an independent archaeologist and heritage consultant with a special knowledge of the research, interpretation and display of early medieval carved stones. During the last decade, Peter (latterly Head of Head Cultural Heritage in Historic Scotland) led the concept and content development for Historic Scotland’s once-in-a-generation redisplay projects of the nationally important carved stone collections at Whithorn, St Vigeans and Iona Abbey. Associated research resulted in significant advances in knowledge, where the redisplay project acted as a springboard for further academic research, with a commitment to wider dissemination. At Whithorn the primary theme was to reveal the meaning hidden within apparently similar (but in fact infinitely varied) interlace decoration. By contrast the immensely rich and beautiful figurative carving at St Vigeans was revealed to celebrate a Pictish royal monastery of great importance. The challenge at Iona, was to demonstrate how the sculpture, especially the high crosses, was but one part of an explosion of cultural and intellectual creativity during the 8th century, identifying Iona as one of the key sites in the development of Western Christianity.

Peter is currently pursuing a research project to establish a strategy for best-practice approaches to the museum display of early medieval carved stones, driven by the distinctive cultural significance of each collection.

He is a Trustee of Archaeology Scotland, and a fellow of the Societies of Antiquaries of London and Scotland.

Research Interests

  • Review and Strategy for the museum presentation of early medieval carved stones;
  • Pilgrim’s Badges in Scotland – the creation of a published corpus;
  • The archaeology of Iona Abbey;
  • An Insular House-Shaped Shrine in the oldest image of St Columba – Codex San Gall 555;
  • Sick Picts – care in the early medieval community, new evidence from the May Island monastic cemetery.

Select Bibliography

Yeoman, P 2018 ‘An Archaeology of Pilgrimage’, in Gerrard, C and Gutiérrez, A

The Oxford Handbook of Later Medieval Archaeology in Britain. OUP.

Yeoman, P 2016 ‘A house-shaped shrine in a Carolingian setting, as depicted in the oldest portrait of St Columba in Cod Sang 555’, Proc Soc Antiq Scot 146: 153-165.

Yeoman, P and Scott, N 2013 Guidebook to Iona Abbey. Historic Scotland.

James, H and Yeoman, P 2008  Excavations at St Ethernan’s Monastery, Isle of May, Fife 1992-97. Tayside & Fife Arch Comm Monograph 6.