Carved stone objects from Scotland - esferas

from unexplained-mysteries.com

Carved stone objects from Scotland - posted in Ancient Mysteries

Perfectly carved stone balls at least thirty centuries old have been turning up for years in Scotland, tantalizing scholars with the mystery of their origin and unction.  To date, well over 350 balls have been discovered, mostly between the towns of Aberdeenshire and Angus.
Measuring from 1 inch to 3 1/2 inches in diameter, some are incised with spirals, concentric rings and other geometric designs; some are unadorned; some have knobs.  Few show hard wear, but several are conspicuously smooth, suggesting that they were much valued and often handled.

 Image: Skara Brae Ritual Object submitted by AlexHunger
Skara Brae Ritual Object Roy Loveday's chapter in "From Sickles to Circles" (edited by Gibson & Sheridan) puts forward a case for carved stone balls as pounders for the fine grinding of copper ores. His thesis is that the settlements of Skara Brae and Barnhouse are analogous to those found amongst the copper-working groups of Altheim because individuals from those regions migrated to Orkney, where they perhaps formed an elite that led to its role as an inter-regional centre.

Rather than developments within Orkney deriving from Irish influences, Loveday would see the native Grooved Ware groups as possible agents in transforming Irish artforms, specifically the use of spiral forms. He further buttresses his arguments by referring to the Boyne sites being amidst major copper deposits. As one of his supports he alludes to Marshall's observation that fifteen carved stone balls form a distinct grouping all are decorated or have an unusual form. But Marshall also notes the complete absence from amongst their design of spiral elements, which would be surely inexplicable if his thesis were correct. Also a searching CANMORE and the Orkney Library's Orkney Room finds a significant number of stone balls from Orkney that are undecorated, being either plain or only polished.

Actually a better case could be made for an association with areas that could have provided lead (Yesnaby has produced both copper and lead). My brief survey of balls, mace-heads and hammers/hammerstones from Orkney tends to support this http://groups.yahoo.com/group/circlesettler/files/ "Lead to habitation" - adding axes could have filled in gaps but at the possible expense of clarity). Even so there are areas for which to my mind the argument is incomplete. However I feel from my researches that there is a strong connection of habitation sites with lead-bearing areas. These include both settlements (e.g. Yeskinabie and Skara Brae, Clook Lead Mine and Brockan, Navershaw and Quoyelsh) and 'homesteads' (e.g. Verron broch and Skara Brae, Clook and Warebeth broch, Navershaw and Bu broch) and perhaps enclosures. Also there appears a strong correlation with burnt mounds. This over-used site-type has become rather nebulous of late (many don't even possess or produce burnt materiel) so I hesitate to suggest adding yet another possible sub-set to the mix i.e. for lead working. Could it be that decorated carved stone balls were used to produce patterns on the lead itself ??

A 1654 report states that at half-a-dozen sites in Orkney the lead mines ('black' and 'white' lead, not lead and tin as one translation has it) "are as good as any in Britain".The first metal age was surely that of lead. In which case the association of areas in which lead could be found and areas of habitation surely follows ab initio.Unfortunately it is an eminently re-workable metal so that, as far as I know, few examples have come down to us. As there are no sources of tin within Orkney when the Bronze Age 'arrived' lead would surely continued to be of use by extending the amount of bronze produced from the then necessary imports of tin. But in my researches here I have not found an analysis of the constitution of Orcadian bronze samples to confirm or deny this. Has there been one or has the process been deemed too destructive here ?

To test my hypothesis would require a proper training in both archaeology and statistics, both of which I lack. But if it were to be confirmed as a theory it should prove to have predictive capability with regard to prehistoric sites. Of course it is inevitable that more prime areas existed previously but then became mined out (e.g. one in Stenness is surely called for).
Orcadian distribution of lead and copper :-

Mainland ; Stromness Flags & Rousay Flags.
Hoy ; Stromness Flags & Rousay Flags.
High concentrations :- Yescanaby, Sandwick HY219154-8. Wha Taing, Burray HY445961. Outer Westness, Rousay HY374311. (also Deerness and St.Andrew's & Fara).

Mainland ; Yesnaby Sandstone & Upper Stromness Flags & Rousay Flags & Eday Beds.
SW Mainland ; Lower Stromness Flags.
South Ronaldsay ; Eday Beds.
High concentrations :- Rennibister, Firth HY398131, Yesnaby, Sandwick HY219154-8, Walliwall, St.Ola HY43291028 (also non-ferrous metals), Warebeth/Clook/Stennigor/Burnside, Stromness HY23440888, Bay of Navershaw, Stromness HY265088. Graemsay ; W coast HY2505, Newhouse HY265044, E coast HY2705. Sal Wick, Hoy HY231054. Sound, Shapinsay approx. HY473163. South Ronaldsay ; Manse Bay, S.Ronaldsay HY477921, Sandhill ND4487, Vensilly Hill approx. ND454911, Myres ND484928 (also non-ferrous metals). Swarta Fiold, Rousay HY387285. North-hill, Sanday HY702422. Mill Bay, Stronsay HY656267.
Barytes veins St.Ola HY4510.

All sorts of theories have been put forth to explain these ancient spheres.  They were at first thought to be weapons, perhaps lashed to handles with leather thongs, like maces, or tied to the end of tongs and used as bolas.  But the grooves are too shalow for thongs to have been attached securely.  Another theory suggests that they may have been used in some sort of competitive game.  However, few of them show any extensive damage.  Indeed, the smoothness of so many has led some researchers to conclude that they may have been portable symbols of power, not unlike a coat of arms.  Since they are relatively small and light in weight, they may have been carried by leaders in leather pouches.  And been passed down through the ages.  If so this would explain why there has not been any found in graves.

Alternative History: Over 400 carved stone objects from 3500 to 2500 BC… Comments Angie Fulford Angie Fulford saved to Antiquities Pictish Orb from North-East Scotland, or Neolithic Pictish Orb discovered in Northeast Scotland.

What is intriguing about these stones is that nobody knows what they were used for or what they could possibly symbolize.

There have only been 387 neolithic stone orbs found and they vary in their shapes and complexity of design.
-- Over 400 carved stone objects from 3500 to 2500 BC are found in Scottland mostly in Aberdeenshire.
What do you think for what ancient used them for?

For geometry or even 3d alphabet?