A PICTISH carving bearing the image of a man has been unearthed by workmen on a £35 million road project.

The figure, wearing a cloak with a “very pronounced” hairstyle featuring a shaven front, was discovered by Balfour Beatty staff working on the new A9/A85 road junction in Perth and Kinross.

Nothing else like it has been found in the region and experts say the find is “really significant”. David Strachan, of Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust, said: “It’s a signal of the importance of the area in Pictish times.”

Similar artefacts have been discovered in Aberdeenshire, the Highlands and Islands and Shetland and show single figures with grotesque faces holding weapons.

The Perthshire man’s face has been worn away, but appears to include a prominent nose. Walking right to left, he holds a spear in his right hand typical of those used in the first millennium AD, with either a club or staff in his left hand. It is thought that the figure may have served as a warning to travellers that they were nearing the territory of a “powerful noble”.

No other artefacts have been found at the site, where construction has resumed. Meanwhile, Scottish Treasure Trove has been notified and the carving will be allocated to a museum. Ian Campbell, leader of Perth and Kinross Council, said: “I look forward to hearing what the experts conclude from their examination of this clearly fascinating stone.”