Necklace and bracelet

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from Skara Brae, Orkney

Postcard of Necklace and bracelet.
© National Museums Scotland

Necklace and bracelet

These ivory and bone beads and tusk pendants were found at the site of the neolithic settlement of Skara Brae in Orkney. They are examples of early, high status jewellery, worn sometime between 3100 and 2500 BC.

The necklace is made of 13 beads of ivory, 13 of bone and 2 tusk pendants. The bracelet is made of 74 small disc beads, all perforated with polished surfaces. It is not certain if they were originally strung together as a necklace and bracelet.

The settlement of Skara Brae was buried in sand, thus preserving buildings to a large height and a range of every-day objects. The inhabitants of Skara Brae used bone for a range of objects including shovels, awls, pins, knives and even beads.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-004-224-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.1997.1140
Date: 3100 - 2500 BC
Between 3100 and 2500 BC
Material: Bone and ivory beads, tusk pendants; shapes varying from small discs to large tubes; all ground, ivory beads and pendants perforated
Dimensions: Beads 11 - 28 mm D; pendants 70 mm max L
What: Necklace
Where: Scotland, Orkney, Skaill, Skara Brae
Description: Necklace composed of thirteen beads of ivory, thirteen beads of bone, and two tusk pendants, the shapes varying from small discs to large tubes, from Skara Brae, Orkney, 3100 - 2500 BC
  • 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 61, 244-5. 
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