Stone with Ancient Writing Discovered in England by Geography Teacher

A 1,600-year-old rock inscribed with early Irish writing was found by a teacher at his home in Coventry, England. The rare artifact offers insight into earlier forms of the Irish language.

Geography teacher Graham Senior was gardening when he found the sandstone inscribed in ogham, an alphabet for writing in the Irish language that dates to the early Medieval period.

Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.

The ogham writing system, comprised of groups of parallel lines typically found on such materials as stone, was used by the Irish before the availability of vellum manuscripts and use of Latin insular script.

Inscribed on three of its four sides, the stone is four inches long and weighs less than half a pound. It is believed that the inscription may be a person’s name, along with information about where that individual came from.

When Senior found the carved stone just four to five inches beneath the ground, he washed it and sent pictures to a local archaeologist and relative Teresa Gilmore, who encouraged him to contact the Portable Antiquities Scheme. There, they record archaeological artifacts found by the public.

“This is an amazing find,” Gilmore, a finds liaison officer for Staffordshire and West Midlands based at Birmingham Museums, told the Guardian. “The beauty of the Portable Antiquities Scheme is that people are finding stuff that keeps rewriting our history. This particular find has given us a new insight into early medieval activity in Coventry, which we still need to make sense of. Each find like this helps in filling in our jigsaw puzzle and gives us a bit more information.”

Gilmore then contacted a professor of Celtic Studies at the University of Glasgow, Katherine Forsyth, who confirmed that it was an early ogham script dating between the fourth to sixth centuries.

Finding such a stone “in the Midlands is actually unusual,” said Gilmore, who believes people coming from Ireland or traveling to early Medieval monasteries may be the reason for the stone’s existence there. It’s possible that the area may have been a major transportation route, with proximity to the River Stowe.

The rock may have been a portable commemorative object, but its purpose ultimately remains unclear.

The artifact has been donated to the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry, where it will be included in the forthcoming “Collecting Coventry” exhibition opening on May 11.


No votes yet.
Please wait...