Record

Carved stone ball

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from Balallan, Lewis, Outer Hebrides

Postcard of Carved stone ball.
000-180-001-722-C
© National Museums Scotland

Carved stone ball

This carved stone ball was found at Balallan on Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. 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 has been carved with six projecting knobs. Carved stone balls have been found with as many as 160 knobs, but six is the most common number.

Carved stone balls are distinctly Scottish objects, with over 425 known, and new ones regularly found. 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: 000-180-001-722-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 210
Date: Between 3200 and 2500 BC
Material: Stone; carved
Dimensions:
What: Ball
Subject:
Who:
Where: Scotland, Ross and Cromarty, Lewis, Balallan
Event:
Description: Carved stone ball from Balallan, Lewis
References:
  • 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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