Rare Viking relic discovered at Perthshire dig

An example of a broken Viking spindle whorl, found at a previous dig in Scotland. Picture: TSPL

An example of a broken Viking spindle whorl, found at a previous dig in Scotland. Picture: TSPL

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ARCHAEOLOGISTS delving into Scottish history believe they have discovered a rare object at a Viking-age longhouse in Perthshire

The small circular stone, with a central hole - thought to be a spindle whorl - was found by Diana McIntyre, who was on a dig with Glenshee Archaelogy Project at Lair in Glenshee.

A spindle whorl, was a weight fitted to a spindle while hand spinning textiles to increase and maintain the speed of the spin.

The stone, which is only around 5cm in diameter, has been carefully shaped to be symmetrical, but what has interested the team are the symbols and designs carved onto one surface.

David Strachan, of Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust explained the possible significance of the find.

He said: “Through the ages spindle whorls have often been covered in abstract shapes and the spinning action would bring life to these shapes, much like the old spinning top toy.

“While we certainly have abstract shapes on this example, some of the symbols look like they could be writing, perhaps Viking runes or Ogham inscription a form of early medieval Irish script.”

The project which began in 2012, has been investigating rare examples of early medieval turf long houses, engaging with communities to experience archaeology first hand.

The team are awaiting experts to carefully study the find to confirm the nature of the symbols but, whether Viking runes or Ogham inscriptions, they know it is a rare artifact.

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