Archaeologists working in the grounds of Scone Palace have been
amazed by the results from the first such investigations ever to
take place there.
As they processed their survey data an extraordinarily clear
outline of parts of the medieval abbey church appeared on their
They have been trying to discover more about the lost abbey of
Scone and about Moot Hill, where Robert Bruce was crowned King of
Scots in 1306.
Scone in ancient times was an important centre of royal and
ecclesiastical power. Even before the time of the Scots, Pictish
kings had been inaugurated on the Moot Hill.
By 1120 a royal abbey was built as befitted this great
ceremonial centre of the kingdom, which served to house the Stone of
No part of the abbey now stands above ground.
The investigation is based on geophysical remote sensing, a
sophisticated scientific technique that allows archaeologists to
look beneath the ground for buried structures.
"We have been really surprised by the high quality of the survey
results so far, revealing a very clear outline of the great west end
of the abbey church, complete with at least one bell tower," said
Oliver O'Grady, one of the project leaders.
"The tremendous importance of Scone - where kings were made and
where parliaments met - is only matched by how little we know about
the reality of the place.
"Now we can locate the essential outline of the church and hints
of where the cloister and other buildings stood—and all this without
putting a spade in the ground!"
The Moot Hill is also giving up its secrets, with the clear
indication of a massive ditch which originally encircled it, and
evidence of how the hill was artificially created.
Suzanne Urquhart, chief executive of Mansfield Estates, which
include Scone Palace, said, "We are delighted to be supporting these
investigations to reveal more about Scone's remarkable past.
"Staff and visitors have enjoyed talking to the archaeologists
about the strange-looking apparatus which they have been using to
scan the ground.
"To see the plan of what was a beautiful Gothic church emerge
from the ground after being lost for 400 years is very exciting.
"Some major gaps are being filled in our understanding of
Scone's amazing history, and we are now talking to the
archaeologists about how the project might develop."
The project, led by Mr O'Grady from the department of
archaeology at Glasgow University, along with Peter Yeoman, who is a
specialist in the archaeology of the medieval church in Scotland,
has just finished.
The rest of the team from Glasgow University were supported by
volunteers from Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust.