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22 December 2003
A safe future for Scottish ancient stones?

One of Scotland's most valuable historic resources could be safeguarded for future generations by a consultation document recently published. Carved stones, from prehistoric rock art to gravestones, will be the focus of a three-month investigation involving owners, local authorities, special interest groups and the wider public.
      According to the Council for Scottish Archaeology, during the past five thousand years Scotland has produced an unparalleled range of carved stones, which are deteriorating at an alarming rate. The council has appointed a stones adviser to protect this body of data, working with Historic Scotland, the National Committee on Carved Stones in Scotland and The Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.
     Frank McAveety, minister for tourism, culture and sport, launched the consultation, due to finish at the end of March, which is designed to protect carved stones such as the Pictish cross-slabs at Glamis, Aberlemno and Eassie, and includes also the eagle from the Broch of Burrian in Orkney and the boar on the roadside stone at Knocknagael, near Inverness.
     Mr McAveety said: "The protection, preservation and presentation of this valuable part of Scotland's historic environment raises many issues, which I hope this consultation will address. "Much of what we recognise today as culture is embodied in Scotland's rich and varied resource of carved stones. From the skill demonstrated in prehistoric rock art to the social significance of gravestones, for many of us carved stones are a tangible connection to a very human element of our past."

Sources: Historic Scotland, The Herald (22 December 2003)

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