Carved object of stone

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From Skara Brae, Orkney

Postcard of Carved object of stone.
© National Museums Scotland

Carved object of stone

This carved stone object is one of several fancy stone items found at Skara Brae on Orkney. It was a prestige object, and dates from between 3400 and 2000 BC.

The object is round in cross-section and has four pyramid-shaped knobs on each end.

Several unusually-shaped carved stone objects were found at Skara Brae. Many functions for them have been suggested. All that is certain is that they were prestigious possessions, symbols of power.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-040-503-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 663
Date: Between 3400 and 2000 BC
Material: Stone, black with light speckles; oval; central portion encircled by a band of ridged decoration, two groups of 5 ridges alternately horizontal and vertical, each end, by means of two grooves at right angles, formed into four large triangular knobs
Dimensions: 3.60" L x 2.50" central 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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