A crowdfunding campaign has been launched for the repair and conservation of a rare Pictish stone.
The find, originally made in August, has been described by experts as “uniquely significant”, after it was discovered lying in a graveyard in a Christian church near Dingwall, and the artefact is thought to have to been carved around 1,200 years ago.
It is decorated with a number of Pictish symbols and it is likely to have originally stood more than seven feet high.
The stone had lain on the ground undisturbed since at least the 1700s when it was reused as a grave marker.
The campaign to raise the £20,000 needed was jointly launched by the North of Scotland Archaeological Society and the Pictish Arts Society at the Archaeological Discoveries and Research Conference in Inverness.
John Borland, president of the Pictish Arts Society and measured survey manager at Historic Environment Scotland, said: “The two massive beasts that flank and surmount the cross are quite unlike anything found on any other Pictish stone. ”
Dr Isabel Henderson, co-author of The Art of the Picts and widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading authorities on the Picts and their culture, said: “The new Dingwall cross-slab is a uniquely significant western extension of the prestigious Pictish symbol-bearing relief sculpture of Easter Ross, notably connected with the tall slabs of Shandwick and Rosemarkie”.
Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/campaign/SponsorAPictishStone,