Page last updated at 14:45 GMT, Monday, 17 August 2009 15:45 UK

Abbey and crowning site excavated

Scone Palace excavations
Bones have been discovered by archaeologists at Scone Palace

Archaeologists investigating one of Scotland's most important royal areas have discovered human bones and the medieval equivalent of the hole punch.

The team is excavating the lost abbey at Scone Palace and also the Moot Hill, where kings such as Macbeth and Robert the Bruce were crowned.

They are paying particular attention to the cloister of the abbey, around which the monks would have eaten and lived.

They have already found some fairly well preserved walls and carvings.

An early monastery at Scone was first referred to in 906 AD, when King Constantine II met the Bishop of St Andrews on the Moot Hill.

Over the years, Scone developed from an early medieval royal settlement and monastery, into a great Augustinian abbey in the 12th Century, before the palace was built in the years around 1600.

Scone is known throughout the world for once housing the Stone of Destiny, on which Scottish kings were crowned.

It's one of the great kind of touching parts of Scottish history that one of its most important sites is now quietly sitting there
Dr Oliver O'Grady

This is the second summer that excavations have taken place at the site, featuring a team of professional archaeologists and local volunteers.

Already this season, the team has found bones, an ornamental belt buckle, walls, foliage carvings on a roof piece, and a copper alloy pin, which it is believed would have been used to punch holes in parchment.

Archaeologist Dr Oliver O'Grady told the BBC Scotland news website that they wanted to ensure the history of such an important area was not forgotten.

"Our excavations are attempting to redress one of the key imbalances with the site's history in that we know quite a lot about its significance in wider history but strangely there's almost been no archaeological investigation here during the 20th Century," he said.

"So what my work is attempting to do is understand the Moot Hill and some of the mythology that was surrounding it and see whether or not we could give that some physical, scientific data and also just trying to breath life back into our understanding of the abbey, which was the heart of Perthshire's history for so long as well as the wider national history.

"It's one of the great kind of touching parts of Scottish history that one of its most important sites is now quietly sitting there really and we're just trying to help people understand and remind people about this important place."



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SEE ALSO
Historic abbey uncovered in dig
21 Jul 08 |  Tayside and Central
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