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 fancy carved stone objects found at Skara Brae on Orkney. It was a prestige object, and dates from between 3400 and 2000 BC.

The stone ball is covered with 50 pyramid-shaped knobs.

Carved stone balls are a distinctly Scottish object, with over 425 known. Most are similar in size, and a few are decorated. Many functions have been suggested. All that is certain is that they were prestigious possessions, symbols of power.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-040-497-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 657
Date: Between 3400 and 2000 BC
Material: Stone, black; covered with seven encircling rows of pyramidal knobs
Dimensions: 2.50" D
What: Ball
Where: Scotland, Orkney, Skaill, Skara Brae
Description: Carved stone ball from Skara Brae
  • 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, 245. 
  • Marshall, D.N. Carved stone balls. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 108 (1976-7), pp 40-79. 
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