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From Skara Brae, Orkney

Postcard of Bowl.
© National Museums Scotland


This bowl, made from bone, was found in the Neolithic village of Skara Brae in Orkney. It was used sometime between 3100 and 2400 BC.

The bowl was carved from a vertebra (a segment of the spinal column) of a sea mammal such as a whale or dolphin. It is broken in places.

The remains of whales and other marine mammals were widely exploited in coastal areas of Scotland, especially in the Northern and Western Isles. Whalebone in particular was strong, dense and resilient, and available in very large sizes.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-040-461-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 577 A
Date: Between 3100 and 2400 BC
Material: Bone, cetacean; from oval centrum; damaged
Dimensions: 154.90 mm H x 292.10 mm max D
Where: Scotland, Orkney, Skaill, Skara Brae
Description: Bowl made from oval centrum of cetacean vertebrae, from Skara Brae
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