"The 9-foot-high stone now stands in Hexham Abbey, where it was found in 1881 among the foundations of the 12th Century eastern section of the cloister. Because there is no known Roman station at Hexham, it is assumed that Flavinus died when the Ala was stationed at Corbridge during the period before 130 AD, and that the stone was later moved to Hexham. The reason for its removal is not known.
The sculptor has shortened the horse to fit onto the sandstone slab, and, following a fashion for showing the success of Roman cavalry over the barbarians, he has extended Flavinus' leg from the knee down so he can "boot" the enemy's backside!" - The Fell Pony Museum
Joiner Larney Cavanagh instinctively knew he had found something special when he and his 10-year-old son happened upon a Latin-inscribed artefact in a field near their East Lothian home.
What they did not realise was that they had discovered the first Roman tombstone in Scotland for 173 years.The tombstone is the first to be unearthed north of the Border since 1834. Dating from between 140AD and 180AD, it features the image of a Roman cavalryman charging down a native Caledonian.
The inscription shows it was dedicated to the memory of a man named Crescens, who was a mounted bodyguard for the imperial governor who ran the occupied parts of Scotland, England and Wales.
It reads: "To the shades of Crescens, cavalryman of the Ala Sebosiana, from the detachment of the governor's bodyguard (the Equites Singulaires), served 15 years, his heir (or heirs) had this erected".
Dr Fraser Hunter, principal curator of Roman archaeology with National Museums Scotland, said: "Tombstones like these are surprisingly rare in Scotland, given that there was a garrison of several thousand men here over a period of more than 50 years. Only 13 have ever been found. This is the first time we have found evidence of the governor's bodyguard in Scotland.
"It is also a fantastic potted history of this man's life and career and shows that he was a well respected and important man.
"The image is fairly typical in that it shows a so-called barbarian, displayed as being naked and hairy, being overcome by a noble Roman soldier.
"It is very much a work of propaganda. Stones like these were there to celebrate the achievements of individuals in the Roman army, but were also there to intimidate people and act as a warning.
"There is a lot of cleaning work still to be done on the stone but eventually it will be put on public display."
Hunter believes the presence of the stone near Inveresk suggests that Crescens died while accompanying the governor on a visit to the fort there."