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Moves to unite historic chessmen

24 December 07 20:13 GMT

First Minister Alex Salmond has joined calls for the return of the Lewis chessmen to Scotland.

SNP members have been campaigning to bring the famed 13th Century figurines back to the country where they were discovered.

The beautifully carved game pieces were found on a beach near Uig on the isle of Lewis in about 1831.

Many of the original 93 chess pieces are currently on show at the British Museum in London.

Speaking to BBC Scotland, Annie MacDonald, an SNP councillor on Lewis, said it was time that the pieces were returned.

She said: "We would like them back up here because I believe that today we can actually hold them up here in the Western Isles.

"We had an exhibition just a month ago where we had 17th Century artefacts and it went down very well for three months.

"I'm pretty sure we could easily hold the chess pieces here as well."

Mr Salmond reportedly said he found it unacceptable that the pieces were scattered around the UK.

He said he would continue to campaign for their return to Scotland.

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