Carved stone ball

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from Deeside, Aberdeenshire

Postcard of Carved stone ball.
© National Museums Scotland

Carved stone ball

This carved stone ball was found at Deeside in Aberdeenshire. 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 quartzite sandstone ball has been carved with four projecting knobs, two of which are damaged. The ball shows the incised technique involving scoring around the knobs during its carving.

Carved stone balls are distinctly Scottish objects, with over 425 known, all but a handful found in Scotland. They were made first by roughing out a sphere, and then chipping away to create the raised knobs and patterns. They were made from a variety of types of stone, some easily carved but others requiring great skill to work.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-001-701-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 95
Date: Between 3200 and 2500 BC
Material: Quartzite sandstone; four discs, two of which are imperfect
Dimensions: 2.63" D
What: Ball
Where: Scotland, Aberdeenshire, Deeside
Description: Carved stone ball with incised technique involving scoring around the knobs, from Deeside, Aberdeenshire
  • 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.
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