Whetstones from Brough of Birsay, Orkney

< 1 of 1 > Back
Postcard of Whetstones from Brough of Birsay, Orkney.
© National Museums Scotland

Whetstones from Brough of Birsay, Orkney

A whetstone is a stone used to sharpen metal tools or weapons. These whetstones, made of siltstone, schist and slate, are some of a number found at the Brough of Birsay in Orkney. They were used between 800 and 1000.

The whetstones come in a variety of shapes, one with an unusual curved end. Two of them are pierced, to allow them to be hung from a cord, perhaps from a belt. All but one are broken.

Whetstones were indispensable to Viking men and women, as they were used to sharpen tools and weapons. Some stones were particularly favoured, and traded widely in the Viking world. They occur in men's and women's graves as well as settlements.

Record details

To search on related items, click any linked text below.

Online ID: 000-000-136-631-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.HB 561
Date: Between 800 and 1000
Material: Schistose
Siltstone; one end upturned; square section; incomplete
Siltstone; perforated; rectangular section; incised decoration; incomplete
Siltstone; perforated; square section
Dimensions: 115mm L
155mm L
55mm L
73mm L
92 mm L
What: Hone
Where: Scotland, Orkney, Brough of Birsay
Scotland, Orkney, Brough of Birsay
Scotland, Orkney, Brough of Birsay
Scotland, Orkney, Brough of Birsay
Scotland, Orkney, Brough of Birsay
Description: Whetstone
Viking haunched hone of schist, from Birsay, Orkney
  • Curle, C.L. Pictish and Norse finds from the Brough of Birsay, 1973-74. Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Monograph Series 1, 1982, pp 69, 119. 
Related Records:
< 1 of 1 > Back
Powered by Scran