Aberdeen City HER - NJ90NW0669 - ABERDEEN

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Primary ReferenceNJ90NW0669
NRHE Card No.NJ90NW216
NRHE Numlink 20126
Site Form Artefact
Site Condition Complete 1
Details A stone ball, flint scrapers and miscellaneous flints. The exact circumstances of this find are unknown but many generalisations about carved stone balls can be made. Over 400 examples of carved stone balls are known and this is one of 7 found within Aberdeen. The vast majority found between the Moray Firth and the River Tay, with only a small number found outside Scotland. Those discovered on archaeological excavations all come from Neolithic sites, dating to between 3000 - 2500 BC. 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. Most carved stone balls are similar in size, with an average of 70mm in diameter, roughly the size of a tennis ball. Although similar in appearance they have variations in their decoration and in the number of knobs they possess. The manufacture of the balls required great skill. The stone would first have to be rounded using sand and water. The design was chipped out using flint tools and any pattern was then incised onto the surface of the stone. There is much debate over the use of these objects. Early interpretations suggested they had a purely practical or functional purpose, as weapons or gaming pieces. This is doubtful because few balls are worn or show signs of damage. It is likely that these objects had a ritual or ceremonial purpose. Their rarity suggests that they were viewed as prestigious objects. As they are most common in the North East of Scotland, it is possible that they were of most significance to a regional people, perhaps by a local religious belief.
Last Update02/02/2018
Updated Bycpalmer
Date of Compilation13/09/2017

Easting: 394001.477, Northing: 805992.046

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National Grid Reference: NJ 9400 0599

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