Edinburgh, March 17 : Archaeologists have announced the discovery of a 6,000-year-old relic in Scotland, which is even older than the pyramids. It was found by David Barnes, a local plumber, who found the stone on the beach in Sandwick Bay, South Ronaldsay.
"At first, I just thought it was an interesting pattern from the erosion," said Barnes. "Then I knew it was fairly rare. It's a miracle I spotted it," he added.
According to a report in The Scotsman, Barnes said that he realised the find could be significant after he read more about the local history of the area.
Archaeologists compared the discovery to the Westray Stone, a Neolithic carved stone discovered in 1981 during routine quarrying work.
According to Julie Gibson, Orkney county archaeologist, the latest discovery must be the result of erosion from recent storms, as the carved patterns would not have successfully survived so many thousands of years' exposure on soft sandstone.
"The stone is perhaps from a chambered tomb and could be as old as 5,000 or 6,000 years, and would have possibly been used as a ceremonial, sacred object," she said.
"This is art made in the same style as art from the Newgrange stone tomb in Ireland or tombs in Brittany. It's part of this Neolithic world linked by the Irish Sea," she added.
"This piece is really a once-in-50-years discovery. I was very pleased to find out David really had such a piece of Neolithic art. It's not something that happens every day," said Gibson.
"Natural stones always have patterns in them and quite often people mistake patterns for art. It was surprising David was able to see this on the beach," she added.
The stone will now be passed to Orkney Museum and brought to the attention of the Queen and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer to determine if it is a treasure trove or not.