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Artisans tapped to help solve mystery of ancient carvings

Artisans are helping a research project determine whether the eye sockets of some ancient carvings were filled with glass.

Fearn sculptor Barry Grove and Tain glass artist Brodie Nairn are working with the National Museum of Scotland and Aberlady Heritage in a project to see if empty eye sockets in historic carvings could have been filled with a form of glass eye. And Mr Grove is attempting to re-create a 14ft Pictish carved stone, working with a 2ft fragment of the original found at Aberlady, East Lothian.

He said: “From research it is thought the original was about 14ft high and there have been many discussions with academics to ensure it is as accurate as it can be.”

Once completed the piece will be on display at Aberlady.

Mr Nairn said it was an exciting project. He said: “We are applying the old traditional skills with new technologies to see how things were done in the past.

“Some of these skills have been lost in time.”

Alice Blackwell, a research officer from the National Museum of Scotland, who has been for three years working with the Glenmorangie Partnership which is exploring the area around Tain, said: “We are exploring the archaeology of the area from 300AD to 900AD, from the Romans to the Vikings.

“We find many pieces with drilled eye holes but haven’t ever found anything in them. It has been exciting experimenting with different colours and finishes of glass.”

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