An incised Mesolithic bevelled pebble from Scotland

Upper face of bevelled pebble showing bands of incised lines
Lower face of bevelled pebble


During recent excavations at Camas Daraich, Skye an incised bevelled pebble was discovered at the base of a midden layer dating to the Mesolithic .  Finds of incised or decorated stone and bone from this period are rare in Britain as a whole and this is the first of its kind from Scotland.

This is a classic elongated pebble form with a double bevel worn on the broader end and with some flaking from this end too. The bevels abut to form a ridge which runs at an angle to the faces. The pebble has a naturally shaped ‘handle’ which is a third of the total length of the tool. The incised pattern is formed of pairs of narrow, parallel bands which divide the tool obliquely into thirds. For a 3D image of this tool check:

There are  many possible interpretations for the presence of the incised lines on this stone tool. It is clear that the incisions are deliberate and composed but it cannot be determined yet whether they are, for example, purely functional, a deliberate abstract representation, a recording or message.  A full discussion of the meaning behind the incisions is in:

Clarke, A; Vila, A;  Estevez, J; Hardy, K 2012 ‘The Tie That Binds? An incised Mesolithic bevelled pebble from Camas Daraich, Skye’ Mesolithic Miscellany 22.1, October 2012, 3-9.