Bone mounting

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From Jarlshof, Shetland

Postcard of Bone mounting.
© National Museums Scotland

Bone mounting

This bone mounting was found at Jarlshof in Shetland. Its function is unknown, but it was clearly a decorative object. It dates from the earliest settlement at Jarlshof, sometime between 2500 and 2000 BC.

The polished mounting has been shaped with concave cutouts on both ends. It was decorated on one side with a very fine incised pattern of triangles, alternately cross-hatched, and the centre filled with bands of squares, chevrons and triangles.

From an early period, people in Scotland used objects made from bone, antler and similar materials in almost every area of daily life. The production of some objects, particularly those finely shaped and decorated, like this one, needed skill and care.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-042-779-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.HSA 3027
Date: Between 2500 and 2000 BC
Material: Bone; engraved; perforation at centre top and both bottom corners; upper end cut away concavely; similar double hollow at lower end; polished and decorated on one side with very fine incised pattern of triangles alternately cross hatched
Dimensions: 5.00" L; 0.60" - 1.50" W
What: Plaque
Where: Scotland, Shetland, Sumburgh, Jarlshof
Description: Decorated bone plaque from Jarlshof, possibly originally from the Tagus area of Portugal
  • Turner, Val. Ancient Shetland. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd, 1998, pp 29-30. 
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