Carved stone ball

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found near Auchinblae, Kincardineshire

Postcard of Carved stone ball.
© National Museums Scotland

Carved stone ball

This carved stone ball was found near Auchinblae in Kincardineshire. It dates from between 3200 and 2500 BC. Many functions have been suggested for these objects. Whatever their function, they were prestigious possessions, symbols of power.

The ball is broken, with more than half surviving. It has been carved with four knobs, only barely marked out. If complete, it would probably have had six knobs, the most common number found on carved stone balls.

Carved stone balls are distinctly Scottish objects, with over 425 known, all but a handful found in Scotland. A few unfinished examples, such as this one, provide evidence on the techniques used in their carving. The stone was first shaped into a sphere, and then the decoration incised. In this case, the ball presumably broke during carving.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-001-326-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.AS 189
Date: Between 3200 and 2500 BC
Material: knobs
Dimensions: 2.63" Dia
What: Ball, carved stone
Where: Scotland, Moray, Newmills
Description: Carved stone ball from Newmills, Moray
  • Calder, Jenni. The wealth of a nation. Edinburgh: National Museums of Scotland and Glasgow: Richard Drew Publishing, 1989, 18-9. 
  • Marshall, D.N. Carved stone balls. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 108 (1976-7), pp 40-72. 
  • Ritchie, Graham and Ritchie, Anna. Scotland. Archaeology and early history. London: Thames and Hudson, 1981, p 46.
    Find in NLS: Title, Author, Title+Author or British Library: Title, Author, Title+Author
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