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Stone Spheres

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An ancient tomb about 5,500 years ago has two polished stone balls. This tomb on the island of Sanday, in the Orkney Islands north of mainland Scotland belong to the Neolithic Britain.

Hundreds of similar stone balls, each about the size of a baseball, have been found at Neolithic sites mainly in Scotland and the Orkney Islands, but also in England, Ireland, and Norway.

Some of these are ornately carved but others are studded with projections or smoothly polished. The famous Towie ball discovered in northeast Scotland in 1860 is an example of ornately carved ball.

Early researchers suggested that the balls were used as weapons, and so they were sometimes called “mace heads”. Another idea is that rope could have been wound around the lobes carved into some of the balls to throw them.

But most archaeologists now think the stone balls were made mainly for artistic purposes, perhaps to signify a person’s status in their community or to commemorate an important phase of their lives.

The two stone balls found at the tomb near the beach at Tresness on Sanday, one made of black stone and the other of lighter-coloured limestone were smoothly polished.

Experts say that carving balls tended to happen later in the Neolithic period while polishing balls was generally an earlier practice.

Inside the Neolithic tomb, archaeologists also found a deposit of cremated human bones near the entrances of two of the five compartments in the burial chamber, as well as several “scale knives,” which were made by breaking beach pebbles into flakes that had a sharp edge.

The Orkney Islands are beyond the very northernmost tip of mainland Scotland. They are dotted with archaeological sites, including a UNESCO World Heritage Site called the Heart of Neolithic Orkney around the Ness of Brodgar complex and the Neolithic village at Skara Brae, which suggests the islands were well-populated about 5,000 years ago.

Read also: https://careercore.in/99-million-year-old-spider-mummies.html

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