4.3.6 Cultural/symbolic, and Political

Cultural/symbolic value refers to the ways in which carved stones might be used to build cultural affiliations in the present through building on shared values that are not related to the chronology and meanings of a site. Examples include the use of carved stone images, particularly in branding, such as Glenmorangie’s prominent use of a design from the Hilton of Cadboll stone as the emblem that adorns their bottles, exemplifying their pride in their Scottish roots (their Tain distillery is close to Hilton of Cadboll; Skipworth in Clarke et al. 2012, ix). Other examples include the logo of public and commercial companies, such as Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s (University of the Highlands and Islands) use of a Burghead bull. Products, such as Marks and Spencer’s inclusion of high-cross-shaped biscuits in their ‘Scottish’ shortbread also fall into this category. Political value refers to the way that heritage such as carved stones might be used to shape civil society, such as promoting certain ideological causes. The Scottish cause célèbre is the ‘Stone of Destiny’/Stone of Scone, delivered to Edinburgh Castle with much pomp and ceremony at the bidding of the Conservative-led Westminster Parliament on St Andrews Day 1996, and viewed with not a little controversy and cynicism (Welander et al. 2003; Ascherson 2002). The heritage issues included weighing up the relative value of returning the stone to Scotland against removing it from the very fine medieval coronation throne that had been designed to house it, on top of which it was not returned to Scone Abbey whence it had actually come (Rodwell 2013, 207–216).

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