Beach Plumbing

March 16, South Ronaldsay -- A plumber found what appears to be a piece of a Neolithic chambered tomb on a beach on a Scottish island.

Julie Gibson, the Orkney County archaeologist, said that the carved stone must have been buried and exposed by recent storms. The carvings on soft sandstone would not have survived centuries in the water.

David Barnes said he thought when he first spotted the stone at Sandwick Bay on South Ronaldsay in the Orkneys that it had simply eroded in an interesting way. Then he realized that the circular markings were manmade.

"This piece is really a once-in-50-years discovery," Gibson said. "I was very pleased to find out David really had such a piece of Neolithic art. It's not something that happens every day."

Gibson believes that the stone, carved as long as 6,000 years ago, was part of a chambered tomb.