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From Tulloch of Assery, Caithness

Postcard of Bone.
© National Museums Scotland


This human vertebra (backbone) has a flint arrowhead tip embedded within it. It was found during an excavation of one of the chambered cairns at Tulloch of Assery by Loch Calder in Caithness. It dates from between 3500 and 3000 BC.

Neolithic vertebra with the tip of an arrowhead embedded in it, from Tulloch of Assery B

The bone may provide the earliest evidence of warfare from Scotland, though it is not possible to be certain of the circumstances in which the person was shot. The shooting could have been a hunting accident.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-035-574-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.EO 1093
Date: Between 3500 and 3000 BC
Material: Bone, human; tip of arrowhead embedded in it
Dimensions: 0.55" L
What: Bone / portion
Where: Scotland, Caithness, Loch Calder, Tulloch of Assery B
  • Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 98 (1964-6), pp. 34-55. 
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