A PAIR of “ancient” standing stones situated near a police headquarters were actually erected to mark the first major victory of the Battle of Bannockburn, new evidence suggests.
Radiocarbon dating has revealed the two stones near the entrance to Police Scotland Central Division’s Randolphfield HQ, in Stirling, were erected around the time of the battle in 1314.
It is now thought they mark the spot where Sir Thomas Randolph – Earl of Moray and a commander in Robert the Bruce’s army – routed around 300 English cavalry on the first day of the battle.
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It was previously believed that the stones were positioned more than 3,000 years ago in alignment with an ancient burial ground nearby, and possibly used as landmarks in the battle.
Dr Murray Cook, Stirling Council’s archaeologist, first excavated the site ahead of the 700th anniversary of the battle two years ago, and this year obtained further funding to obtain a radiocarbon date of one of the stones’ foundations. He said: “These stones have been linked to Randolph’s skirmish, though I thought they were more likely to be prehistoric and possibly incorporated into the battle.
“This year I received funding and I have now obtained a radiocarbon date in association with the foundation of the stone. The date that came up is contemporary with the battle. It raises the very real possibility that the stones were constructed to mark the site of Randolph’s victory on the first day.”
The victory was highly significant. It not only prevented the English from achieving their aim of reaching Stirling Castle, but also set the Scots up for an historic victory over King Edward II’s much larger army the following day.
The stone, said to come from the city’s Castle Rock, would have been made put in the ground to commemorate the event, like a modern day plaque.
Police Scotland, who gave permission for the experts to investigate the stones on their property, said they could be made “more accessible and visible to the public” following the new discovery.
Chief Inspector Lynn Ratcliff, Local Area Commander for Stirling, said: “These stones are literally in our front yard. We’ve been aware of them, but we did not know their history or background.