Archaeologist Found 15th century carvings at Scottish cathedral

Archaeologist Found 15th century carvings at Scottish cathedral

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FRI 8 FEB 2019 06:42 PM

Archaeologist Found 15th century carvings at Scottish cathedral:

Stone carvings which had lain hidden for centuries have been found at Dunkeld Cathedral in Scotland

At least a dozen carved saint like figures were discovered by a conservation team from Historic Environment Scotland.

The torch-lit discovery within the obscured recesses of the tomb of Robert de Cardeny, which dates from 1420, was followed by a 2nd, more in-depth assessment undertaken using cutting edge 3D photogrammetric technology.

A detailed 3D model was created by obtaining multiple pictures using cameras and mirrors, enabling a closer look at the carvings which had been previously hidden from direct view.

Robert de Cardeny was the longest serving Bishop of Dunkeld Cathedral, serving from 1398 to 1437. Not unusually, the tomb was created before his death, in this case 17 years before.

The excavation of these stone carvings has shed new light on the history of the site, revealing that the tomb has at some point been moved and built into the wall from its original free standing location.

Colin Muir, Stone Conservator at Historic Environment Scotland who led the discovery, commented.

“The finds of these rare, hidden carvings behind the 15th-century tomb of Bishop Cardeny is very exciting, and will enrich our understanding of the history of Dunkeld Cathedral and late medieval stone carving.

“This find also gives fresh incentive for further research and exploration of the site, as we still don’t know when exactly the tomb was moved, or why.

This discovery also hints that there may still be other obscured areas of detail preserved within the walls behind the tombs.

“Conservation works to protect the fabric of the tomb are currently being planned, and we hope to undertake further examination of what may lie behind it.

At this stage we don’t know what, if anything, remains – but it will be intresting to find out.”

Dunkeld Cathedral has long been an important ecclesiastical centre, with relics of St.Columba brought to Dunkeld from Iona by King Kenneth McAlpin in 849.

The cathedral was developed over a period of around 250 years, which the earliest surviving section – the choir – dating from the late 1200’s. It is now managed by Historic Environment Scotland.


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P. Natasha Covers Classical Archaeology news and has been with Histecho since 2017. She has a Master's degree in MA Archaeology from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting program. A California native, she also holds a Bachelor of science in molecular biology and a Master of Science in biology from the University of California, San Diego.

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