Gravedigger’s Historic Find in a Dufftown Churchyard.

A stone, which is thought to be a relic of at least two centuries before the battle of Mortlach, which was fought in the year 1010 on the spot where Mortlach Churchyard now stands, was unearthed by Mr A. Naughtie, mason, Dufftown, on Friday of last week.

Mr James Watson, the local gravedigger, made the discovery while engaged in the digging of a grave about 20 yards from the famous Mortlach Stone, which is supposed mark the spot where one of King Malcolm II’s knights fell in the battle against the Danes.

            The stone, which in of blue material, was discovered about four feet under the surface. It measures about 3 ft. 3 in. in length, and is covered by peculiar marking which must have been carved by some sharp instrument. One carving resembles an animal of some sort, possibly an elephant or a horse. There are also two circles and several lines, which, unfortunately are scarcely discernable. After his find Mr Watson searched the ground below the stone, but nothing else was found.

            It is unfortunate that during the process of lifting the stone was broken in four pieces, but as none of the markings is damaged, the chances are that it will stand repair. Rev. J.B. Cumming referred to the find at the close of his sermon in Mortlach parish Church on Sunday, and stated that it was possible that the stone dated from about 800 A.D., which would make it 200 years older than the present Mortlach Stone which was said to commemorate the battle.

This is the first find that has been made since the Parish Council took over the churchyard thirty years ago. The stone is Stated to be of the same material is that of a stone which was discovered at Dyce some year ago.