Carved stone ball (piece)

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from Stellock, Wigtownshire

Postcard of Carved stone ball (piece).
© National Museums Scotland

Carved stone ball (piece)

Approximately half of this carved stone ball from Stellock in Wigtownshire survives. 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 was carved with four projecting knobs. One complete knob and parts of the other three are preserved. Carved stone balls have been found with as many as 160 knobs, but six is the most common number, followed by four.

Carved stone balls are distinctly Scottish objects, with over 425 known. Most are single finds, which makes them difficult to date or to determine their function. They are remarkably similar in size and show many similarities in design.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-001-336-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 73
Date: Between 3200 and 2500 BC
Material: Claystone
Dimensions: 2.75" Dia
What: Ball / half
Where: Scotland, Wigtownshire, Stellock
Description: Half of a ball of claystone from Stellock, Wigtownshire
  • 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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