Southern Pictland, today’s Perthshire, Fife and Angus, formed the core of the Pictish kingdom, later the medieval kingdom of the Scots. Forteviot’s was most important in the 9th century AD, when it was the seat of the dynasty founded by Cináed mac Alpín (‘Kenneth son of Alpin’) whose descendants ruled Scotland until the 11th century. These kings were attracted to Forteviot both because of the fertility of the land and because of its ancient sacred landscape, which expressed ancestral and territorial power.
The Chronicle of the Kings of Alba reports that Cináed died in 858 AD in palacio Fothuir-tabaicht, ‘in the palace of Forteviot’. The concentration at Forteviot of high quality monumental sculpture, some of it linked to King Constantine (who died in 820 AD) points to the presence of an important church (a monastery?) within the palace complex. Even in its fragmentary condition the sculpture reveals wealthy patronage and a rich intellectual tradition. The precise location of the palace is unknown but excavation has revealed an extensive Pictish cemetery, including large-scale square barrows.