Geography Teacher Finds a Stone With 1,600-Year-Old Ancient Markings in His Garden

Back in 2020, geography teacher Graham Senior from Coventry, England, was working in his garden when he discovered a stone with unusual markings. These markings turned out to be 1,600 years old and belong to the ancient Ogham writing language.

After cleaning the stone, Senior sent some photos to a relative who is an archeologist and was told that it could be a museum-worthy piece. He then got in touch with Teresa Gilmore, the local finds liaison officer, through the Portable Antiquities Scheme, which encourages individuals to report their artifact findings.

 Further consultations with experts showed that the artifact contains inscriptions made in an early version of the Ogham alphabet. The writing system, which uses groups of parallel lines, was used in Ireland and parts of the UK between 4th and 6th century AD.

The inscriptions on the stone discovered by Senior were likely from the 4th century and read: “Maldumcail/ S/ Lass.”

“The first part relates to a person’s name, Mael Dumcail,” Gilmore told The Guardian. “The second part is less certain. We’re not sure where the S/ Lass comes from. It is probably a location. So something like ‘had me made’.”

The stone is now displayed at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum as part of the Collecting Coventry exhibition.

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