|Aberdeen University held an exhibition of carved stone balls earlier this year. Some 70 were on display - which must be pretty well their entire collection.
They have about eight or so on permanent display and these were supplemented by five cases of rarely seen items.
Images of all of these are posted here.
A couple of apologies. I had no tripod so some from the permanent display (which were in a dark corner) are blurred. Posted nevertheless as they still give some idea of the decoration. Also, I've lost the names of two of the findposts.
The balls in the cases are shown from two angles.
Some background info on the balls.
411 known examples at the last count.
Vast majority 7cm diameter. 12 at 9-11 cm and some oval ones.
Stone used varies considerably - sandstone, quartzite, gneiss, ...
Distribution - largely Aberdeenshire, Grampians. Also other parts of Scotland. Five found outside Scotland.
Context/Date - Skara Brae finds are late Neolithic. Reports of some finds in Bronze Age contexts but none from recent well-documented excavations.
Purpose? The exhibition offered no real explanation so it's open season on that one!
Posted by greywether
21st May 2004ce
Edited 22nd May 2004ce