Page last updated at 13:39 GMT, Monday, 21 July 2008 14:39 UK

Historic abbey uncovered in dig

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Archaeologists dig in the Scone Palace grounds

Parts of one of Scotland's most influential religious and historic buildings have been uncovered for the first time in centuries.

Archaeologists have been digging at Scone Palace and believe they have found the walls of the lost abbey.

Despite the site's significance, there is very little sign of the 12th century building above ground.

The team is also examining the Moot Hill - where kings, including Macbeth and Robert the Bruce, were crowned.

The first time the early monastery was referred to was in 906 AD when King Constantine II met the Bishop of St Andrews on the Moot Hill.

Scone developed from an early medieval royal settlement into a great 12th century Augustinian Abbey, before the palace was created in the years around 1600.

'Extended pedigree'

Archaeologist Peter Yeoman said: "We worked here last year to look at the radar and did remote sensing across the whole area.

"From the plot we got from that we've now laid out these trenches and are starting to investigate and find parts of the medieval abbey.

Finds during Scone excavations
Pottery, oyster shells and an old coin have been found

"We've found a range of artefacts which tell us quite a lot about both the nature of the physical remains of the abbey church, but also the kinds of economic activities and food and so on that were being brought in here in fairly large quantities to keep the monastic house going."

The team have unearthed skeletons, bits of pottery, oyster shells and an old coin.

Archaeologist Oliver O'Grady said: "One of the important things about the site is it has such an extended pedigree, an extended history and we're also trying to understand the evocative Moot Hill.

"We've put some trenches across what we think is a large buried ditch around the site in order to gather environmental information and dating evidence to answer some of the questions about whether this was a pictish centre, which then led on to become the inaugural site of the kings of Scotland."

The trenches will be filled in at the end of this week and the artefacts taken away for a thorough examination.


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