The lives of the people who built the Ness of Brodgar are surrounded in mystery. Research can help us develop theories about how they led their lives and perhaps how they organised their society, but some things will probably defy explanation for some time to come.
There have been many theories concerning the use of this carved stone ball found at the Ness, but of course we will probably never know for certain why it was carved. However we can propose how it was carved by making one, using the same tools as the Neolithic farmers, combined with a good eye for proportion!
And so Chris Gee, of the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute, set out to remake a Ness of Brodgar carved stone ball using just stone tools and no complicated maths. Chipping away over a period of one week, Chris managed to make a perfect replica of a Ness carved stone ball. The pictures he took show the various stages in the process….
Chris explained: .”This shows the various stages in the creation of a carved stone ball shaped only using other rocks found in Orkney. It is based on the Ness of Brodgar ball, particularly the arrangement of the six discs. Otherwise I have chosen to leave the discs fairly large with a sharper shoulders, and also chosen to include the effect of a smaller sphere which the discs sit upon. This can be seen in other carved stone balls. The rock is from an igneous trap dyke and was found on the shore near Skara Brae.”
At least one mystery is now solved…