One of Scotland's most important "lost" historic sites - the
ancient abbey where Robert the Bruce is believed to have been
crowned on the Stone of Destiny - has been rediscovered.
Archaeologists using sophisticated magnetic imaging technology
have traced the exact location of Scone Abbey, the ancient seat of
ecclesiastical and royal power where Scottish kings were inaugurated
for four centuries. The find could eventually pave the way for
excavations to begin to reveal the remains.
The major archaeological investigation in the grounds of Scone
Palace is led by Oliver O'Grady, of the Department of Archaeology at
Glasgow University, and Peter Yeoman, a prominent expert on medieval
Scotland. Mr O'Grady said yesterday that the discovery of the
outline of the "lost" abbey had exceeded all the expectations of his
It is the first time there has been any trace of the abbey,
founded in 1114 by Alexander I, since it was sacked and burned by an
angry mob in 1559 at the height of the Reformation.
"We have had some startling results," he said. "For the first
time we can say this is the location of the great main abbey church
of Scone. It was the location of many inaugurations of Scottish
kings and is believed to have been where the Stone of Destiny was
housed in the main altar at the eastern end of the abbey. It is
certainly thought to be the location where Robert the Bruce was
"The importance of Scone - where kings were made and parliaments
met - is only matched by how little we know about the reality of the
An emerging picture
The dramatic first images have been captured on the team's
computer screens. They believe the abbey complex could be up to 100
metres in length - far larger than was previously thought.
Mr O'Grady added: "We have been really surprised by the high
quality of the survey results so far.
For the first time in the modern age we can actually begin to
get an emerging picture of the scale of the church here. We are
amazed by what we've found."
Mr O'Grady said the team of archaeologists was in "positive"
discussions with the palace - home of the Earl and Countess of
Mansfield - about continuing their work and expanding the geophysics
survey. There were, he said "multiple possibilities" including
Suzanne Urquhart, the chief executive of Mansfield Estates at
Scone Palace, said: "To see the plan of what was a beautiful Gothic
church emerge after being lost for 400 years is very exciting. We
are talking to the archaeologists about how the project might