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From Skara Brae, Orkney

Postcard of Scraper.
© National Museums Scotland


This bone scraper was found at the site of the Neolithic village of Skara Brae in Orkney. It was probably used either as a skinning knife or as a smoothing tool in leather working, sometime between 3100 and 2450 BC.

The scraper is a thin polished slice of bone with a sharp working edge.

In the almost tree-less Northern Isles, wooden objects are less common than other materials. The inhabitants of Skara Brae used bone and antler for a range of objects including shovels, awls, pins, chisels, knives and even beads.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-040-364-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.HA 478 C
Date: Between 3100 and 2450 BC
Material: Bone, slice of long bone especially the matpedial, cattle; quadrangular; upper face ground down to form one or more edges; both faces polished, the outer convex and the inner concave, with traces of marrow cavity
Dimensions: 114.30 mm L
What: Implement / knife, skinning / smoothing tool, leather working
Where: Scotland, Orkney, Skaill, Skara Brae
Description: Thin polished slice of bone with a working edge, probably used either as a skinning knife or smoothing tool in leather working, from Skara Brae
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