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Netting needles

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From Vallay, North Uist, Outer Hebrides; Sculptor's Cave, Covesea, Moray; North Uist

Postcard of Netting needles.
© National Museums Scotland

Netting needles

This mystery bone object, once thought to be a line guide for net making, is from Vallay on North Uist in the Outer Hebrides. It is shown with two needles for making nets, one from the Sculptor's Cave at Covesea in Moray and the other from North Uist.

The mystery object is a flat piece of bone with a 'fish tail' end. Its surface is smooth, and the notches could have been used to retain thread, but its function is uncertain.

Weighted nets were used for hunting and fishing at various times in the past. Netting needles for making and mending nets are all that survive. Identifying other net-related objects is difficult.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-102-537-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.GT 264
Date: 950 BC - 700 AD
Netting needles: between 950 BC and 700 AD
Material: Bone, cetacean; thin; spatulate
Bone; flat; dagger-like; perforation near top
Bone; one end rounded off; the other end perforated; polished
Dimensions: 5.20" L
9.00" L
What: Implement / needle, netting
Line guide
Needle, netting
Who: H.H. Mackenzie (Collector)
Sir John Campbell-Orde (Collector's employer)
Where: Scotland, Inverness-shire, North Uist
Scotland, Inverness-shire, North Uist, Vallay
Scotland, Moray, Hopeman, Covesea, Sculptor's Cave
Description: Polished bone implement, one end rounded off, the other perforated, possibly a netting needle, from North Uist
Bone netting needle from Sculptor's Cave, Covesea, Moray
Line guide of bone for keeping net lines untangled during net making, from Vallay, North Uist, 950 BC - 700 AD
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