Posts Tagged With: Scotland
‘Magnificent’ Scottish treasure trove unearthed
A wide range of historic and ancient items discovered across Scotland have been catalogued in the annual Treasure Trove report.
They include a Roman wine dipper found in the Borders, a historic brooch from the Highlands, and a gold ring discovered in Midlothian.
The Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer (QLTR) Catherine Dyer said it had been another “magnificent year”.
She thanked members of the public who had reported their finds.
The latest report covers the period from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014.
It details matters dealt with by the QLTR and the Scottish Archaeological Finds Allocation Panel (SAFAP).
Under Scots law, it is the prerogative of the Crown to receive “all lost and abandoned property which is not otherwise owned”.
The latest Treasure Trove report includes more than 800 objects discovered by more than 250 “finders”.
They are generally given a small ex gratia payment to recognise their contribution.
The items found included a gold Merovingian coin dating from the 7th Century discovered at Coldstream in the Borders.
Such coins were in use across England, but finding one in Scotland is highly unusual and this was the first of its type to be located north of the border.
A Roman wine dipper was discovered at Hawick, while an Iron Age strap mount, which would have decorated the trappings of a horse and chariot, was found at Dunbar in East Lothian.
Other finds included a medieval silver crucifix at Loch Leven in Perth and Kinross, and a 16th Century gold finger ring decorated with white enamel which was discovered at Roslin in Midlothian.
Ms Dyer said: “The report confirms that this has been another magnificent year with some outstanding finds being reported, preserved and displayed in breathtaking museum collections around Scotland.”
Some canister shot from Culloden in the Highlands was also unearthed, as were fragments of a bronze age sword blade found at Dundrennan in Dumfries and Galloway and a Roman brooch located at Charlestown in Fife.
The treasure of Loch Arkaig, sometimes known as the Jacobite Gold, was a large amount of specie provided by Spain to finance the Jacobite rising in Scotland in 1745, and rumoured still to be hidden at Loch Arkaig in Lochaber.
In 1745, Prince Charles Edward Stuart (or ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’) arrived in Scotland from France and claimed the thrones of Scotland, England and Ireland, in the name of his father James Stuart (‘the Old Pretender’). Although Charles asserted that his venture was supported by Louis XV of France, and that the arrival of French forces in Scotland was imminent, in truth France had little intention to intervene on the Stuarts’ behalf. However, some limited financial support was supplied by both Spain and the Pope.
Spain pledged some 400,000 livres (or Louis d’Or) per month for the Jacobite cause. However, getting this money to the rebel army was the difficulty. The first installment (sent via Charles’ brother Henry who was resident in France) was dispatched in 1745. The French sloop Hazard (renamed the Prince Charles) successfully landed its monies on the west coast of Scotland. Unfortunately for the Jacobites, the riches were soon captured by Clan Mackay, who were loyal to King George II.
In April 1746, the ships Mars and Bellona arrived in Scotland with 1,200,000 livres (another Spanish instalment, plus a large French supplement). However, on learning of the Jacobite defeat at the Battle of Culloden on 16 April, the ships left, unloading only the Spanish money at Loch nan Uamh, Arisaig on 30 April (the same place from where the Prince had disembarked the year before, and would later embark for France). Thus, seven caskets of Spanish gold arrived in Scotland. Since the Jacobite cause was now lost, with the army scattered and the Prince and his lieutenants in hiding, the money was to be used to assist the Jacobite clansmen (then being subjected to the brutalities of the government forces of the Duke of Cumberland and to facilitate the escape of leading Jacobites to the continent.
Six caskets (one having been stolen by McDonald of Barrisdale’s men were brought to Loch Arkaig (just north of Fort William) and hidden. Their secret was entrusted to Murray of Broughton, one of the Jacobite fugitives. Murray began the distribution to clan chiefs, but when he was apprehended by the government (and later turned state’s evidence the treasure was entrusted first to Locheil, the chief of Clan Cameron, and then to Macpherson of Cluny, head of Clan Macpherson. Cluny was hiding in a cave at Ben Alder, which came to be known as ‘the cage’, and when Charles briefly joined him there, Cluny had control of the money, which was still hidden at Arkaig.
The treasure hunt
Charles finally escaped Scotland in the French frigate L’Heureux, and arrived back in France in September 1746. However, the fate of the money is not as clear. Cluny is believed to have retained control of it, and during his long years as a fugitive was at the centre of various futile plots to finance another uprising. Indeed he remained in hiding in his Highland ‘cage’ for the next eight years.Meanwhile, a cash-strapped Charles was constantly looking for his money, and at least some of it came to him later, paying for the minting of a campaign medal in the 1750s. However, it is said that all of the gold was never recovered. Charles, years later, accused Cluny of embezzlement. Whatever the case, the gold became a source of discord and grievance among the surviving Jacobites.
In 1753, Dr Archibald Cameron – Locheil’s brother, who was acting as secretary to the Old Pretender – was sent back to Scotland to locate the treasure. However, whilst staying secretly at Brenachyle by Loch Katrine, he was betrayed (apparently by the notorious ‘Pickle’, a Hanoverian spy) and arrested. He was charged under the Act of Attainder for his part in the 1745 uprising and sentenced to death, being drawn and then hanged on 7 June 1753, at Tyburn (the last Jacobite to be executed).
The trail then goes cold. However, the Stuarts’ papers (now, ironically, in the possession of Queen Elizabeth II) record a host of claims, counter-claims and accusations among the Highland Chiefs and Jacobites in exile, as to the fate of the monies. The historian Andrew Lang (who was one of the first people to research the papers since Walter Scott secured them for the Crown) recorded, in his book Pickle the Spy (1897), the sordid tale, and the involvement of both the Prince and his father in trying to locate the monies. The Stuart papers also include an account from around 1750, drawn up in Rome by Archibald Cameron, that indicates that Cluny had not or could not account for all of it.
According to Clan Cameron records, some French gold coins were found buried in nearby woods in the 1850s
The remains of a medieval knight or nobleman found underneath a car park are to be moved to make way for a university building.
The grave and evidence of a 13th Century monastery were uncovered when archaeologists were called to an Edinburgh Old Town building site.
An elaborate sandstone slab, with carvings of a Calvary Cross and ornate sword, marked the grave.
As part of low carbon measures for the University of Edinburgh scheme, work was being carried out in the former car park to create a rainwater harvesting tank for the new building.
It was already known the area had been the site of the 18th Century Old High School, the 16th Century Royal High School and the 13th Century Blackfriars Monastery.
Along with the knight or nobleman’s grave and skeleton, the excavation has revealed the exact location of the monastery, which was founded in 1230 by Alexander II (King of Scotland 1214-49) and destroyed during the Protestant Reformation in 1558.
Richard Lewis, the City of Edinburgh council culture convener, said it was hoped more would be found out about the remains, but the grave had already been dated to the 13th Century.
“This find has the potential to be one of the most significant and exciting archaeological discoveries in the city for many years, providing us with yet more clues as to what life was like in Medieval Edinburgh,” he added.
The project’s archaeological services have been provided by Edinburgh-based Headland Archaeology.
The archaeologist who found the grave, Ross Murray, had studied at the University of Edinburgh on a site only yards from where the find was made.
Mr Murray said: “We obviously knew the history of the High School Yards site while we were studying here but I never imagined I would be back here to make such an incredible discovery.”
Historic Scotland launches virtual tour of Maeshowe….
Orkney is world-famous for its spectacular Neolithic archaeology, and now visitors from all over the globe will be able to explore one of its most enigmatic monuments, after a new virtual tour of Maeshowe chambered tomb went live today (29 August).
In a video unveiled yesterday by Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the structure of the 5,000 year old monument has been recreated using 3D laser-scans carried out by the Scottish Ten project – a collaboration between Historic Scotland, Glasgow School of Art and CyArk, to document Scotland’s five UNESCO World Heritage Sites and five international sites using cutting-edge digital technology. This data will be used to help research and conserve the monuments.
Maeshowe is shown at the winter solstice, when the setting sun shines directly down the monument’s entrance tunnel to illuminate its central chamber. Covering every inch of the inner rooms of the tomb, the animation also tours the outside of the mound and reveals how it was constructed in a detailed cut through.
Legend has it that the Loch Ness Monster was first sighted in the sixth century years ago by an Irish monk while preaching by the lake. Now, a Scottish sailor who has spent the last 26 years of his life searching for the elusive creature, says he has the best picture yet of “Nessie.”
George Edwards takes his boat, “Nessie Hunter,” out onto Loch Ness nearly every day, often with tourists who hope to see the creature for themselves. Early one morning in November of last year, Edwards was turning his ship back to shore after spending the morning searching for an old steam engine on the lake floor, when he saw something else.
“I saw something out of the corner of my eye, and immediately grabbed my camera,” Edwards told ABC News. “I happened to get a good picture of one of them.”
The typical “media Nessie,” as Edwards calls it in his thick Scottish accent, depicts the creature with three humps sticking out of the water and a long neck with a head like a horse, but Edwards says that’s probably not what Nessie looks like.
The picture Edwards took shows what he says is the back of one of the Loch Ness monsters.
“In my opinion, it probably looks kind of like a manatee, but not a mammal,” Edwards told ABC. “When people see three humps, they’re probably just seeing three separate monsters.”
While many people think of the Loch Ness monster as a single creature, Edwards maintains that can’t be true.
“It was first seen in 565 AD,” Edwards said. “Nothing can live that long. It’s more likely that there are a number of monsters, offspring of the original.”
Experts say the six highlighted points indicate this may be a daVinci original (Daily Mail)
Fiona McLaren, 59, had kept an old painting in her Scottish farmhouse for decades. She reportedly didn’t think much of the painting, which had been given to her as a gift by her father. But after she finally decided to have the painting appraised, some experts are speculating that it may in fact be a 500-year-old painting by Leonardo da Vinci and potentially worth more than $150 million.
“I showed it to him [auctioneer Harry Robertson] and he was staggered, speechless save for a sigh of exclamation,” said Ms. McLaren, according to The People.
The Daily Mail says the painting may be of Mary Magdalene holding a young child. The painting is now undergoing further analysis by experts at the Cambridge University and the Hamilton Kerr Institute, who will attempt to uncover its exact age and origins.