Archaeologists find Roman numerals on Scottish Stone of Destiny

This ancient stone dates back nearly 1,000 years.

Scotland's renowned "Stone of Destiny" (photo credit: WIKIMEDIA)
Scotland's renowned "Stone of Destiny"
(photo credit: WIKIMEDIA)

Researchers uncovered markings with Roman numerals that had previously gone unnoticed on the ancient Scottish Stone of Destiny, according to an Ancient Origins report this week.

This stone's recent analysis uncovered this interesting detail ahead of its upcoming use in the coronation of the United Kingdom's next monarch, King Charles III.

Also known as the Stone of Scone, it was initially used in crowning ceremonies of kings in Scotland more than 1,000 years ago. The stone has been at the center of many traditions in the past, and King Charles III did not plan on things being different for him. The sacred stone, which was transported to Westminster Abbey ahead of his coronation ceremony in May, will be placed inside a specially-constructed chair built to hold the 700-year-old massive stone.

The stone will ship from Edinburgh Castle to London and requires special care and attention to preserve the item's integrity. Efforts by Historic Environment Scotland have used extensive digital and scientific analysis of the stone at a special facility referred to as the "Engine Shed," which is part of Scotland's national building conservation center. 

The stone weighs in at 335 pounds. 3D renderings of the object have been able to reveal details of the stone's surface, which is rough and uneven.

The Roman numerals is just one of the most interesting details revealed. Unfortunately, the exact value of the numerals is yet to be determined, though experts were able to identify the markings by their shapes.

Those part of the preservation efforts were also able to identify several tool marks on the stone, giving context to how the stone came to its form throughout its centuries of use. Marks varied, however, and were able to identify just where the original cut marks of the stone came from. This connected the stone to a quarry in the village of Scone, Scotland. Other marks were more recent, dating back to work done on the stone in the early 1950s.

When does the Stone of Destiny date back to?

Archaeologists believe the stone was used in royal proceedings at least two centuries ago. The Stone of Destiny belonged to local Scottish leadership before the English invasion of Scotland in 1076. The stone was removed, transferred to London, and remained in Westminster Abbey until 1996 before finding it’s way back to the original home in Scotland.