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Home of the “Book of Deer” Identified in Scotland

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Scotland Monastery Game BoardABERDEENSHIRE, SCOTLAND—According to a statement released by the University of Southampton, the site of a monastery where a tenth-century manuscript was written has been identified in northeastern Scotland. Known as the Book of Deer, the manuscript is believed to be the oldest-surviving example of Gaelic writing. The book is thought to have been created at the Monastery of Deer, which was abandoned when the monks moved to nearby Deer Abbey. A team led by archaeologists Ali Cameron of Cameron Archaeology and Alice Jaspars of the University of Southampton, which also included students and local volunteers, explored an area near the site of Deer Abbey. Charcoal found in traces of the earliest structures at the site were radiocarbon dated to the early medieval period. The researchers also uncovered a stylus; medieval pottery and glass fragments; and boards for hnefatafl, a game similar to chess. To read about a monastery on Scotland's island of Iona, go to "Fit for a Saint."

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