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Master Painting Composition by Rubens

Neolithic carved stone balls

They first began to appear at around 1850, with all examples being made of stone except a single bronze specimen from Lanarkshire.

Very few have been found in secure archaeological contexts and their dating was hotly debated for many years - it was once suggested that they were Saxon. However, examples have been found during excavations at the later Neolithic settlement at Skara Brae, Orkney. The decoration on many of the balls is similar to that on other artefacts of the period, such as Grooved Ware pottery and passage tomb art.

The balls can be quite elaborate; the most common ones are those with six projecting knobs, which may be plain or decorated. They are usually very similar in size . Of 387 balls known at the time of Marshal’s exhaustive study, 375 were ‘much the same size, with a diameter of 70mm, 12 large balls of 90-114mm and 7 oval balls’. The uniformity of size is one of the most remarkable features of the balls, although they display a wide variety of treatments. 


Via The Ancient Wisdom Foundation

Castiglion Del Bosco, Tuscany.