IN DECEMBER 1913, an old quarry near the foot of the Alva Glen was being worked when remains were found, meaning all activity ceased over the Christmas period that year.

On Christmas Eve, while busy working, quarryman James Murdoch uncovered the grave where a small skeleton lay neatly tucked into a natural cavity.

Three weeks later local police officer George Donald and Dr William L Cunningham of Alva accompanied a member of the Society of Antiquaries Mr J. Graham Callander to the site where the remains had been found, 'a few yards distant from the right bank of the burn' which runs through the glen.

The body had been placed in a rock shelter in the face of the cliff, about 40 feet from the base and a dry stone wall type structure had been placed over the east facing opening.

This cavity was not large, measuring about four feet and six inches (137cm) from north to south and five feet (152cm) east to west. The whole shelter had been covered by soil and other detritus washed down the glen by the burn.

The base of this grave site had been covered in small stones then soil before the body had been placed there.

Callander noted there was no charcoal so the grave was not prehistoric.

The skull lay on its right side towards the north end 'facing the rock to the west, the vertebrae and ribs followed a line to the south, and the nether limbs were inclined towards the interior of the cavity.'

The body had been placed half on its side and half on its back but the whole face including the teeth and lower jaw was not found. Some of the bones were fractured.

In his report, Callander wrote that Professor Bryce, who had conducted the post mortem, had concluded that the skeleton was that probably of a dwarf, measuring four feet and two inches (127cm) tall.

This was due to the fact that 'the epiphyses are fully united...' which meant the body was that of someone aged over 21.

He stated that this person 'had premature union of the epiphyses' and had to a 'remarkable degree stunted in growth.' Bryce leaned towards the skeleton being that of a woman, although the cranial characteristics 'might have been present' in a male.

The tomb is no longer visible and where the remains are today is unknown.

On December 26, 1913, Murdoch, the man who uncovered the grave, was killed by a massive rock fall.