News by email Donate

Suggestions

Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

pictish-stone-main_article_image.jpg
NOSAS/PA Wire
UK News

'Once-in-a-lifetime find' discovered at historic church site

by Press Association

The stone, thought to have been carved about 1,200 years ago, is decorated with a number of Pictish symbols and is said by experts to be of national importance.

It is believed the stone, discovered at an early Christian church site in Dingwall, originally stood at more than two metres high.

It now measures around 1.5 metres, having been broken over the years and been reused as a grave marker in the 1790s.

Anne MacInnes, from the North of Scotland Archaeological Society, was the first to recognise the stone while carrying out a survey at the church site.

She said: "I was clearing vegetation when I spotted the carving. I really couldn't believe what I was seeing."

NOSAS/PA Wire
North of Scotland Archaeological Society undated handout photo of a Pictish stone, which was discovered at an early Christian church site in Dingwall

The find was verified by archaeologists from Highland Council and Historic Environment Scotland, before being safely removed from the site by specialist conservators on Thursday.

It will now be professionally conserved with a view to ultimately putting it on public display at a Highland museum or other suitable venue.

Designs on the stone include several mythical beasts, oxen, an animal-headed warrior with sword and shield, and a double disc and z rod symbol.

NOSAS/PA Wire

Details of the carvings on the reverse side of the stone are not yet known but experts suggest that, based on examples from similar stones, they are likely to include a large ornate Christian cross.

It would make the stone one of an estimated 50 complete or near complete Pictish cross-slabs known across the world, and the first to be discovered on the Scottish mainland for many years.

John Borland, president of the Pictish Arts Society, said: "The discovery of the top half of a large cross slab with Pictish symbols is of national importance.

"The find spot - an early Christian site in Easter Ross - is a new location for such sculpture so adds significant information to our knowledge of the Pictish church and its distribution.

"This new discovery will continue to stimulate debate and new research."

NOSAS/PA Wire

Kirsty Cameron, an archaeologist at Highland Council, said: "This is a once-in-a-lifetime find and what started as a small recording project has resulted in the identification of not only this important stone, but also that the site itself must be much older than anyone ever expected.

"All credit goes to the local archaeologists for immediately recognising the importance of the stone and putting plans in place for securing its future."

Stay up to date with the latest news stories from a Christian perspective. Sign up to our daily newsletter and receive more stories like this straight to your inbox every morning.

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of £5 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the UK is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of £5 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Set up a monthly gift

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

Connect

Donate

Donate