The remarkable Lair spindle-whorl was found in 2015 by the Glenshee Archaeology Project ( during the excavation of an early medieval turf longhouse in Glenshee. The building has been dated to around AD 700-900 (using radiocarbon dating) which makes the spindle-whorl from the Pictish period. Spindle-whorls are widely found on archaeological sites and provide evidence of domestic textile production as they were used to add weight and momentum at the end of a spindle for hand-spinning. They are believed to have been highly personal items, frequently being discovered with burials as grave goods. What make the Lair spindle-whorl so special, are the shapes and lines that have been intricately carved into one side of the siltstone. The graffiti-like marks appear to have been applied on at least two occasions, perhaps by more than one person over a period of time. Some marks look like the body of a stag with lines depicting antlers. Groups of incisions in other areas of the surface may even be crude attempts at rune-like script or letters. The Lair spindle-whorl is comparable to other decorated examples from across Scotland but what makes it stand out is the casual ‘doodling’ quality of the inscriptions. The Lair spindle-whorl is a fascinating representation of early medieval material culture in Scotland, and provides us with a tangible, highly tactile connection to the people who once lived and worked in the Cateran area.