A remarkable series of events led to the discovery of ancient Egyptian artifacts buried in Scotland, according to historians who have been piecing together the story. It all began in 1952, when a schoolboy was digging up potatoes as a punishment near the village of Monimail in Fife. To his surprise, he unearthed the head of an ancient Egyptian statue. Historians later determined that the sandstone statue dated back to the mid-12th Dynasty, around 1922 to 1855 BC.
More discoveries followed. Fourteen years later, the same schoolboy, now a teacher, found an Egyptian bronze statuette of a bull while running an exercise class. Then, in 1984, schoolboys exploring the same site with a metal detector alerted a curator to another find—an Egyptian bronze figurine. These discoveries, chronicled in a new paper by curators Elizabeth Goring and Margaret Maitland, eventually led to the unearthing of a trove of Egyptian objects, some genuine ancient relics, now housed in the collection of National Museums Scotland.
The mystery remains as to how these artifacts ended up in a Scottish schoolyard. There is no documentation of anyone who owned the property having a collection of Egyptian objects. One theory proposed by the researchers is that the objects belonged to the son of the previous owner, who visited Egypt in 1856. It is possible that vendors selling artifacts visited him during his stay, and the objects were later consigned to an outbuilding and forgotten. Another theory suggests that the objects were kept away from the main house due to superstition surrounding the emerging rumors of the “Pharaoh’s curse.”