Authenticity’s Child: contemporary meanings and future destinies for the Stone of Scone is an ambitious longitudinal study that aims to understand and give voice to the contemporary authenticity and social value of the Stone and its recent life-stages from a critical heritage perspective, adding to its better-researched earlier lives.

The 2023 coronation of Charles III in Westminster Abbey and the 2024 relocation of the medieval Stone of Scone/Destiny to Perth’s new museum will rekindle high-profile debates about where this national icon ‘belongs’, what stories to tell about it and how. There is an unparalleled opportunity to explore for the first time the Stone’s contemporary authenticity and social value in real time while it moves between multiple contexts. The Stone is the supreme example of an object defined across time and space by how diverse communities negotiate its (in)authenticity and contest its meanings.

The overarching objective is to diversify public engagement with the Stone by producing memorable research-led stories of contemporary relevance that provoke new thinking about this national icon.

The project’s methodology employs mixed methods, primarily focused ethnographic and qualitative fieldwork combining semi-structured interviews, short interviews, focus groups and participant observations. This is complemented by extensive use of archival sources and memorabilia. My Life as a Replica: St John’s Cross, Iona (Foster and Jones 2020) successfully illustrates such an approach. With a critical focus on ‘movement’, the findings will help to transform the Stone’s future meanings, destinies and contribute to theoretical and methodological debates in heritage and museum studies about authenticity and object itinerary / biography.

The project also includes an autoethnographic study of the researcher’s experiences as an ethically approved Participant-Researcher on the Culture Perth and Kinross Expert Panel for the Stone.

Theme by the University of Stirling