medieval buildings are difficult to date,” said Peter Yeoman, historic
Scotland senior archaeologist, “but masons’ marks can sometimes give
valuable clues because the same ones may appear at a number of sites.”
“If we know when the building activity took place at one of them, then that can help a great deal with the undated ones.”
does need to be interpreted with care however, given that there may be
more than one phase of building for each site, and it’s also possible
that masons’ marks might have been passed from father to son.
marks, whose function is not fully understood, could well have been
used as a way of showing who did what work-wise so they could be paid.
If the project is a success, it is hoped it will be rolled out elsewhere in Scotland.
successful survey has already been carried out at Lower Northwater
Bridge between Angus and Aberdeenshire, north of Montrose. The A-listed
structure, dated 1770-1777, was found to have 283 masons’ marks on one
span and 362 on another, with analysis showing that they belonged to 16
For further information about the project or to take part contact Moira Greig on 01224 664726.