Neolithic find at SWT reserve

Example of a Neolithic quern stone

Volunteers make an exciting historic find at a Scottish Wildlife Trust reserve

Volunteers for the Scottish Wildlife Trust have played an unexpected yet important role in shedding light on the life and times of a Perthshire hillside – from some 6,000 years ago. Repair work to field walls at Balnaguard Glen reserve has revealed a stone that is shaped like a shallow basin. On closer examination it is believed that this find could be Neolithic quern stone.

This type of quern – which was found as a building block in the reserve wall – has a shallow basin effect created by years of rubbing grain with a heavy stone to make flour. (In more recent times the use of Neolithic quern stone was replaced by various kinds of rotary quern that were quicker and more effective.)

Now the newly discovered quern stone adds further detail to the  picture of prehistoric settlement on the hill at Balnaguard, in addition to the field systems, roundhouses, rock art and burial mounds already known to exist.

Delight at Scottish quern stone find

Perthshire ranger for the charitable organisation SWT said: “The Scottish Wildlife Trust knew the Balnaguard hillside was rich in natural and human history, with evidence of human impact spanning remote prehistory in the area.

“However, what is great about this find is that it happened while some of our dedicated volunteers were out doing repair work. Not only have they made an impact for the Scottish Wildlife Trust, but also an impact on our understanding of the history of the site.”

Mark Hall, history officer for Perth Museum & Art Gallery, said: “I was delighted to come out and identify the stone. We are more than happy to give it a home in the museum, after clearance with Scottish Treasure Trove. Once there, its long-term future as part of the collections is assured and it can help to tell the story of Perthshire folk, through research, interpretation and display.”

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