Carved stone ball

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From Skara Brae, Orkney

Postcard of Carved stone ball.
© National Museums Scotland

Carved stone ball

This carved stone ball is one of several elaborate stone objects found at the Neolithic settlement site of Skara Brae on Orkney. It dates from between 3200 and 2500 BC.

The ball is polished smooth and has groups of incised lines forming a geometric pattern on one half.

Carved stone balls are distinctly Scottish objects, with over 425 known. Most are similar in size, and a few are decorated. Many functions have been suggested. Whatever their function, they were prestigious objects, symbols of power.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-040-173-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.HA 169
Date: Between 3200 and 2500 BC
Material: Basalt; polished; bearing groups of lines incised upon its surface and forming a geometrical pattern
Dimensions: 2.38" D
What: Ball
Where: Scotland, Orkney, Skaill, Skara Brae
Description: Carved stone ball from Skara Brae
  • Calder, Jenni. The wealth of a nation. Edinburgh: National Museums of Scotland and Glasgow: Richard Drew Publishing, 1989, pp 58-9. 
  • Clarke, D.V., Cowie, T.G., & Foxon, Andrew (eds). Symbols of power at the time of Stonehenge. Edinburgh: National Museums of Antiquities of Scotland, 1985, pp 59-60, 245. 
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