Shovel or scoop from Skara Brae, Orkney

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Postcard of Shovel or scoop from Skara Brae, Orkney.
© National Museums Scotland

Shovel or scoop from Skara Brae, Orkney

This shovel or scoop was found at the site of the Neolithic village of Skara Brae in Orkney. It was made from the shoulder bone of an ox, sometime between 3100 and 2400 BC.

The shovel or scoop was made from an ox scapula. The edges have been smoothed to provide an easy surface for scooping or shovelling. Similar objects sometimes have antler handles attached to the narrower end. The shovel or scoop is damaged at the ends.

The convenient shapes and qualities of some animal bones made them ideal for certain kinds of objects and ornaments. Some parts needed little or no modifying to produce tools, as in this case.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-000-136-626-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0035: Early Scottish Shelter - Life in the Prehistoric Home (multimedia essay)
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.HA 511
Date: Between 3100 and 2400 BC
Material: Bone, scapula, ox; with edges smoothed; damaged
Dimensions: 228.60 mm L
What: Scapula / shovel / scoop
Where: Scotland, Orkney, Skaill, Skara Brae
Description: Ox scapula with smoothed edges, used as a shovel or scoop, from Skara Brae
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