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from Egilsay, Orkney and Bloody Quoy, Deerness, Orkney

Postcard of Maceheads.
© National Museums Scotland


A mace was a ceremonial weapon. These stone maceheads were found at Egilsay in Orkney and at Bloody Quoy at Deerness in Orkney. They were prestige items, used to display status, sometime between 3100 and 1800 BC.

Both maceheads are polished smooth, though the ends have been deliberately left rough on the macehead on the right. The holes for the shafts were carefully bored.

Stone maceheads were used as prestige items - symbols of power and, possibly, of rank - for several centuries. They were often made from attractive rocks, and rarely show signs of use.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-004-050-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.AH 186
Date: Between 3100 and 1800 BC
Material: Granite; with haft hole bored through the flat face; abraded at each end; polished
Dimensions: 4.69" x 2.00"
4.75" x 2.38" x 2.13"
What: Mace head
Mace head
Where: Scotland, Orkney, Egilsay
Scotland, Orkney, St Andrews and Deerness, Bloody Quory
Description: Mace head of polished granite, cushion type, from Bloody Quory, Deerness, Orkney
Stone mace head, Thames pestle type, from Egilsay, Orkney
  • Clarke, D.V., Cowie, T.G., & Foxon, Andrew (eds). Symbols of power at the time of Stonehenge. Edinburgh: National Museums of Antiquities of Scotland, 1985, pp 256-7. 
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