Aberdeen City HER - NJ81SE0013 - STONEYWOOD

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Main Details

Primary ReferenceNJ81SE0013
NRHE Card No.NJ81SE17
NRHE Numlink 19519
Site Form Artefact
Site Condition Complete 1
Details Carved stone ball with four circular convex discs placed asymmetrically around the circumference recorded as having been found within the Stoneywood area of Aberdeen. The ball is no longer extant but is recorded in the Proceedings of the Antiquaries of Scotland in 1892 as 2 inches in diameter, similar in size to other stone balls. The design is said to have had 4 circular convex facets or knobs. This stone ball had been in the private collection of John Rae. Following his death it was sold to National Museum of Scotland in 1892 (Accession no: AS 46). Carved stone balls are distinctly Scottish objects, with over 400 found, and are thought to be of Neolithic date, between 3000 and 2500 BC. The abstract designs carved onto the balls also suggest they are Neolithic. Unfortunately few have been found where they were originally deposited and few hard facts can be extracted from the evidence available. Carved stone balls were highly prized curiosities and often became part of private collections. The various decorations on the carved stone balls would require great craftsmanship. The number of knobs on each ranged from 4 to 160. Abstract designs, such as spirals, dots, hatchings or concentric circles, were also carved onto their surfaces. It has been estimated that it would take up to 200 hours to create one carved stone ball. The technique used would require the stone to be rounded, probably by using sand and water, before the knobs and other decorations were carved with flint and metal tools. It is possible that their manufacture continued into the early Bronze Age because some of the decoration could only have been produced using a metal chisel. There is much debate over the use of these objects. Their rarity suggests that that they were viewed as prestigious objects. That they are most common in the North East of Scotland suggests they were of most significance to a regional people, perhaps related to a local religious belief.
Last Update13/07/2022
Updated Bycpalmer
Date of Compilation13/09/2017

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National Grid Reference: NJ 8800 1200

Event Details

Excavations and Surveys

Artefact and Ecofact

Date MDate YArtefact TypeFinderRecovery MethodConditionStorage LocationAccess No.
   CARVED STONE BALL National Museum of Scotland  


Ecofact Notes

Monument Types