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from Boddam, Aberdeenshire

Postcard of Macehead.
© National Museums Scotland


This stone macehead was found at Boddam in Aberdeenshire, and dates from between 3000 and 2000 BC. Maces could have been used as weapons, but were principally symbols of power and status.

The macehead is shaped very roughly like an egg, and has a shafthole towards the narrow end. It would originally have been fixed to the top of a handle of wood or other organic material by means of its shafthole.

Maces were used as symbols of power from the late 4th to the early 2nd millennium BC, particularly in the Northern Isles. Many are made from attractively coloured or patterned stones, and would have taken much time to make. This 'ovoid' type is very occasionally found in chamber tombs, and a few fancy decorated examples have been found in Britain and Ireland.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-004-816-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 96
Date: Between 3000 and 2000 BC
Material: Whinstone
Dimensions: 3.25" L
What: Mace head
Who: Sturrock Collection
Where: Scotland, Aberdeenshire, Boddam
Description: Mace head of whinstone with part of one side broken away, from Boddam, Aberdeenshire
  • Roe, F.E.S. Stone mace-heads and the latest Neolithic cultures of the British Isles. In: Coles, J.M. and Simpson, D.D.A. (eds) Studies in Ancient Europe. Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1968, pp 145-172. 
  • Roe, F.E.S. Typology of stone implements with shaftholes. In: Clough, T.H.McK. and Cummins, W.A. (eds). Stone Axe Studies. London: Council for British Archaeology (Research Report 23), 1979, pp 23-48. 
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