Orcadian Artefacts

Dr Hugo Anderson-Whymark, University of York, tells us about some of his work on stone tools from Orkney:

ABDUA-14301_BattleAxe_smallThe prehistoric monuments of Orkney are well known, but the stone tools found on the archipelago have received far less attention. In order to redress the balance the Leverhulme Trust funded project ‘Working stone, making communities: technology and identity in prehistoric Orkney’, directed by Prof Mark Edmonds, University of York, has spent the last two years recording Mesolithic to Bronze Age Orcadian stone tools held in museum collections across Scotland.  This detailed analysis has allowed comprehensive descriptions of the full range of Orcadian flint and stone tools to be prepared, refining typologies, dating and our understanding of production techniques.

ABDUA-16221_PestleMaceheadUniversity of Aberdeen Museums hold a small number of Orcadian stone tools including a fine late Neolithic pestle macehead and an early Bronze Age battle-axe. The macehead is one of only 100 from Orkney and its strongly concave sides place it in a small group of ‘Orkney’ pestle forms; like most examples from Orkney this macehead is broken across its perforation. The battle-axe is one of only ten from the archipelago and like many it is superficially well finished, but closer inspection reveals that the perforation was not completed.  Photographic illustrations and 3D models of these tools have been prepared for a web resource on Orcadian stone tools that will be launched in early 2017.

The 3D models can be viewed on Sketchfab:

Battle Axe from Longhope

Pestle Macehead from Orkney

Witch Stone from Orkney




About uoamuseums

The University of Aberdeen's Museums include King’s Museum and the University's Zoology Museum. The museums can claim to be Scotland's oldest, with records of museums and collections as far back as the late 17th century. Thanks to their status as a Recognised Collection of national significance, the Zoology Museum’s displays are currently being improved, while King's Museum hosts changing exhibitions drawn from across the collections, particularly those formerly in Marischal Museum. Visitors are warmly welcomed to the museums, and there are no charges for admission. Marischal College now houses the Museums Collections Centre, caring for and conserving many of the collections.
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