THE news that the skeleton found in a cave in the Black Isle could have been a member of Pictish royalty causes us once more to wonder about our mysterious ancestors about whom we know so relatively little.

The evidence that Rosemarkie Man was a Pict is pretty convincing due to its location, the carbon dating and chemical analysis of the bones, and Dame Sue Black’s team at Dundee University did wonders to give us a facial reconstruction.

It’s a sad fact that relatively few skeletons of Picts have ever been found. The biggest archaeological find of Pictish remains of recent decades was the Portmahomack village discovery, but only 13 skeletons were found, and of those just two were complete or nearly so.

READ MORE: Rosemarkie Caves man could have been royalty, analysis shows

The Picts who made their homeland around the Moray Forth were the subjects of the kings of Fortriu, a kingdom which took shape around the third and fourth centuries AD, and lasted for hundreds of years until the Picts and Scots came together – whether by conquest or intermarriage – in the ninth century to form most of what is modern Scotland.

The imposition or adoption of Gaelic across the Highlands by the Scots killed off the Pictish language, of which place names are the main indicators as to what it looked and sounded like.

We do know a lot about the later Christian Picts, but Rosemarkie Man appears to pre-date that era, and his brutal death also suggests he was killed in some sort of ancient Pagan ritual. We are finding out more about the Picts but they are still a mystery.