MASS Project

The Moothill and Abbey of Scone Survey (MASS) Project, co-directed by Oliver O'Grady (University of Glasgow) and Peter Yeoman, begun in 2007.

Revealing the lost medieval abbey of Scone: MASS Project 2007


The Project TeamA team of archaeologists from Glasgow University have located the remains of the lost abbey of Scone where Scottish Kings were inaugurated and medieval parliaments held. The breakthrough was made through the use of geophysical survey in the grounds of Scone Palace this July. The Moothill and Abbey of Scone Survey (MASS) Project, co-directed by Oliver O'Grady (University of Glasgow) and Peter Yeoman (working in a private capacity), was commenced this year to complete a focused season of survey at the core of Scone Palace Estate using remote sensing techniques.

Scone, with its Moothill and monastery, was at the centre of kingship and ecclesiastical power in medieval Scotland, possessing a powerful cultural significance as the place of inauguration of the Kings of Scots. The site may have originated as a Pictish power centre within the territory of Gowrie, even before the time of the Scots and the Kingdom of Alba when royal assemblies were held on the Moot Hill from at least the 10th century. By 1120 a royal abbey was established as befitting this great ceremonial centre, which housed the Stone of Destiny. The Palace and lands were granted to the Murrays by James VI/I in 1606. Destruction at the Reformation, combined with quarrying of the abbey for stone for the Palace and the nearby toun, culminated with the creation of the designed landscape in the 18th and 19th centuries. This resulted in the wholesale altering of the historic site, so that at present nothing of the abbey is visible standing above ground and the Moothill survives incorporated within the gardens of Scone Palace. It is extraordinary that such an important place has left so little trace on the surface.

 


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