Buried Stones Revealed at St Patrick's Churchyard, Dalzell Estate

Volunteers help to locate and record buried tombstones

Filed under News
Date posted: Monday, 25 September 2017

Carefully, using only plastic tools and soft brushes, volunteers revealed writing hidden for perhaps decades in Dalzell kirkyard. Phil Richardson, from Adopt a Monument at Archaeology Scotland, led a fascinating volunteer investigation to find and record the hidden stones beneath Dalzell kirkyard this weekend as part of the Treasured Remains activities.

23 stones were uncovered during the survey, including 16 which were previously unknown! The oldest known stone in the graveyard was also discovered, dating from 1667. Watch the video below to see the volunteers at work.


The volunteers were guided by professional archaeologists, and shown how to clean the stones for photographing and recording, without damaging them. Years of leaf litter and decaying plants covered many flat slab stones with a thick layer of earth, and so the stones were found through a careful probing process, and cleaned using only soft plastic tools, which will not scratch the aged surfaces.

Several symbol stones were revealed and recorded, one of which was previously unknown. These included two with large, simplistic axe carvings, and one with a relief of what is perhaps a baker's paddle or a spade.

With an enthusiastic and dedicated team of volunteers assisting with the survey, the event was a great success, and has helped to reveal even more about this enigmatic site, believed to be the location of one of the earliest Christian churches in the area.

The site will be investigated and recorded further on the 7th and 8th of October, when Archaeology Scotland will be using digital photography techniques (RTI and photogrammetry). To find out more see the event page below, or contact Archaeology Scotland at 0300 012 9878 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In addition, 17 fallen or damaged stones were recently restored through CAVLP by North Lanarkshire Council.

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