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Teen Uncovers Another Govan Stone

Updated: Aug 2, 2019

A 14 year old helping out on a dig at his church in Scotland, uncovered three more of the region's famous (and thought lost) medieval "Govan" gravestones.

The Old Parish Church in Govan, near Glasgow, Scotland, is known for its elaborately carved gravestones that were used from 500-1000 AD. But everyone thought that all the stones that had survived the centuries had been found… that is, until a 14 year old stuck a trowel into the ground and hit pay dirt… literally.

"I was just prodding the ground to see if there was anything there, and suddenly it made a noise and I realized I had hit something," Mark McGettigan said.

The half-ton stones, which were made to look like a large Norse building, shine a light on the ancient kingdom of Strathclyde, when warlords battled for control of the British Isles and Viking long ships caused mayhem along Scottish coasts and waterways.

A total of 46 stones were found in the 19th century and in the 1920s, 31 were moved into the church for safekeeping, where they remain to this day in the church’s museum. The other 15 were thought to be forever lost, accidentally crushed and carted away with the rubble of a neighboring shipyard, when it was demolished decades ago.

Of special note at the museum is the ninth-century carved sarcophagus of St. Constantine, son of Scottish King Kenneth MacAlpin

McGettigan was volunteering on his first-ever archaeological dig when he discovered the first of the stones, which are carved with interlacing Celtic designs and crosses. Although no remains were found, experts are not surprised, as the stones were commonly moved around the graveyard and even re-carved and reused over the centuries.

To donate to the church museum’s renovation efforts, visit



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