Carved stone ball

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found at Towie, Aberdeenshire

Postcard of Carved stone ball.
© National Museums Scotland

Carved stone ball

This carved stone ball was found at Towie in Aberdeenshire. It dates from between 3200 and 2500 BC. Many functions have been suggested for these objects. Whatever their function, they were prestigious possessions, symbols of power.

The ball has four knobs, three of them decorated with spirals or dots and rings. The designs closely resemble those pecked into the stones of the massive passage tomb at Newgrange in Ireland. They probably had a sacred, symbolic significance.

Carved stone balls are distinctly Scottish objects, with over 425 known. Most have been found in Aberdeenshire. They are similar in size and a few are decorated with spirals and curved motifs, as is this example. The Towie ball is exceptionally fine.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-033-206-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.AS 10
Date: Between 3200 and 2500 BC
C. 2500 BC
Material: Stone; four projecting discs and incised ornaments
Dimensions: 3.00" D
What: Ball
Where: Scotland, Aberdeenshire, Towie, Glaschul Hill
Description: Carved stone ball from Glaschul Hill, Towie, c. 2500 BC
  • Calder, Jenni. The wealth of a nation. Edinburgh: National Museums of Scotland and Glasgow: Richard Drew Publishing, 1989, pp 58-9. 
  • Marshall, D.N. Carved stone balls. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 108 (1976-7), pp 40-79. 
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