The first Roman tombstone found in Scotland for
more than 170 years is among the rare artefacts unearthed by treasure
hunters this year.
It forms part of Scotland’s annual Treasure Trove, items found
by archaeologists or enthusiasts which have been handed to the Crown
Other pieces include a 5,000-year-old axe head, a Bronze Age sword and mysterious carved stone balls.
The Crown Office has a duty to receive all unclaimed lost and abandoned items.
Ian Ralston, a professor at Edinburgh University
who sits on the Treasure Trove panel, said some significant
archaeological finds had been unearthed in Scotland this year.
He said: “The most outstanding would have to be the Roman
tombstone. The inscription suggests it was someone who had a military
career, the equivalent of being in the elite guards.”
The red sandstone artefact was for a man called Crescens, a
bodyguard for the governor who ran the province of Britain for the
It was found by amateur enthusiast Larney Cavanagh at the edge of a field near Inveresk.
Professor Ralston said items received by the Treasure Trove
usually arrived via three routes: during standard archaeological
excavations and field work; by chance by members of the public; and by
people using metal detectors.
The Treasure Trove panel decides where each item should be
placed and how much reward money should be received by the ‘treasure
The items found between April 2007 and March 2008 were included
in The Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer’s annual report.
The 5,000-year-old farmers axe head was unearthed at Dunragit, Stranraer, but made from stone found in the Lake District.
The Bronze Age sword was found in Lockerbie and the mysterious carved balls were discovered at Pitmilly and Newburgh in Fife.
One of the most important archaeological finds ever brought
before the Treasure Trove panel was the Cramond Lioness, which was
found in the mud of the River Almond 10 years ago.