A rare Roman bell has been unearthed by a metal detectorist in Perthshire.
The copper-alloy antique was stumbled upon by Rob Fallen as he was detecting with a group of friends.
He was showing one of them the basics of his hobby when he discovered the artefact, which is thought to be one of just a handful in Scotland.
The tiny 5cm bell has a distinctive pyramidal body and a diamond-shaped suspension loop.
Experts say the 1st century find could have been used by a Roman settler to ward off evil spirits. The Romans made significant attempts to occupy Scotland from 71AD, finally leaving more than 140 years later.
Rob (37) found the bell while searching farmland near Blairgowrie on February 3. He had been testing out a £2,000 CTX3030 metal detector, which he had been lent by top manufacturer Minelab.
After turning up several smaller items, including a musket ball and pot fragments, the group decided to pack up for the day.
As they walked back to their car, Rob, who lives near Stirling, detected one last signal and discovered the bell around a foot below the surface.
He said: “It’s the first Roman bell I’ve found it made my day. I knew it was something quite significant.
“I thought it was Roman but I wasn’t sure because I’ve found medieval things in that field before.”
Rob added that he hoped members of the public would be able to look at his find in the future.
“I hope it goes on display for people to enjoy,” he said. “As long as it’s not stuck in a drawer I’ll be happy.”
He has now sent the bell to Treasure Trove Scotland, which will assess it with a view to displaying it in a local museum.
A spokeswoman for Treasure Trove Scotland said: “Although not clear on this particular object due to damage, each corner of the base had a small foot. Within the bell itself are rare traces of an iron clapper.
“The bell is certainly a function piece, rather than decorative, but its true purpose remains unknown.”