Carved stone ball

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from Greenlonachs, Culbokie, Ross and Cromarty

Postcard of Carved stone ball.
© National Museums Scotland

Carved stone ball

This carved stone ball was found at Greenlonachs at Culbokie in Ross and Cromarty. It dates from between 3200 and 2500 BC. Many functions have been suggested for these objects. Whatever their function, they were prestigious possessions, symbols of power.

The ball has been carved with six low knobs. Carved stone balls have been found with as many as 160 knobs, but six is the most common number.

Carved stone balls are distinctly Scottish objects, with over 425 known, all but a handful found in Scotland. Theories of their use include weapons or for use in games, but the balls are usually without damage. Other possibilities are for weighing, or for some ritual.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-001-401-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.AS 192
Date: Between 3200 and 2500 BC
Material: Stone; with six low knobs
Dimensions: 2.63" D
What: Ball
Where: Scotland, Ross and Cromarty, Culbokie, Greenlonachs
Description: Carved stone ball from Greenlonachs, Culbokie, Ross and Cromarty
  • Calder, Jenni. The wealth of a nation. Edinburgh: National Museums of Scotland and Glasgow: Richard Drew Publishing, 1989, 18-9. 
  • Marshall, D.N. Carved stone balls. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 108 (1976-7), pp 40-72. 
  • Ritchie, Graham and Ritchie, Anna. Scotland. Archaeology and early history. London: Thames and Hudson, 1981, p 46.
    Find in NLS: Title, Author, Title+Author or British Library: Title, Author, Title+Author
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