IN SEPTEMBER 1868, a party of workmen were working at Gibson's Crag on the Devonshaw Estate by Dollar when they came across some ancient bones and relics.

Having lain in the ground for centuries undisturbed, some were in remarkably good condition.

The workmen were engaged in blasting rock and preparing the stone to be used on sections of the Devon Valley railway line.

The line required bridges on its eastern side and the rock was to be used in their construction.

During the extraction of the rock, the men realised they had stumbled on ancient relics and remains. These were extracted and examined.

It turned out the workmen had discovered a stone hammer, a bronze dagger, a blade measuring 18 inches long and a spear head.

The blade and spear head were made from the same material and had not corroded during the long centuries they had been buried in the ground.

These two items were found in what was described as a cavity, most likely a cist, that had been disturbed, buried around 10 feet under the ground.

This space also contained a number of bones that had been covered with two fragments of freestone. One fragment of the freestone had some evidence of fire damage.

Unfortunately, when the remaining bones were exposed to the air, they disintegrated after a short time and were lost.

The men did not know for sure if they had been human bones but there is strong evidence they were, having been buried along with the blade and the spear head.

The cavity, or cist, was described as being around three feet by two feet three inches, so it is likely the body was placed in a way that would suggest it was around the Pictish era when Christianity was just beginning to take hold in the country.

The railway superintendent Mr Donald and the contactor Mr Beekie were more than happy to show their finds to the locals who took a great deal of interest in them.

It was hoped at the time the men would hand them over to the Castle Campbell Footpath Committee for their safe keeping, and for a public display to be formed to show them off to the people of Dollar.

The position of the crag and the finding of the relics seemed to suggest that ancient peoples had lived near or in local caves at some stage.

These too had also been discovered by accident during the blasting works.