Tartan Possibly Made During the Reign of Mary, Queen of Scots, Found in a Scottish Bog

The cloth could be the oldest traditional tartan ever found

The tartan piece can be dated to circa 1500-1600 AD, making it the oldest known surviving specimen of true tartan in Scotland.
Alan Richardson / V&A Dundee

A piece of fabric believed to date to around the time of the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots, and discovered in a bog in the Scottish Highlands might be the oldest traditional tartan ever found, new research suggests.

The material could be up to 500 years old, according to scientists. Found almost 40 years ago in a peat bog some 15 miles west of Loch Ness, it survived due to the lack of air.

According to dye analysis and radiocarbon testing that was commissioned by the Scottish Tartans Authority and released this week, it was likely made in the 16th century.


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