Stone Tools from Ness of Brodgar


At Ness of Brodgar rocks from sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic sources were worked to produce a wide range of different artefact types by flaking, pecking, grinding and polishing. Alongside distinctive and sometimes elaborate axeheads, pillow stones, maceheads, and spatulate forms, the assemblage contains many tools that are the product of working and shaping other artefacts and processing different materials. These tools are central to our understanding of how the site was occupied: the nature and organisation of activities and the extent of links with other Neolithic sites in Orkney. 

The large assemblage from the Ness of Brodgar contains numerous different tool types, several of which have not previously been recognised, or else are scarce, at other Neolithic sites in Orkney. In all, a total of 1205 stone artefacts have been recorded from the 2004-2019 excavation seasons.  

Read more here: Ann Clarke, 2020 Stone Tools from Ness of Brodgar in N. Card, M. Edmonds and A. Mitchell (eds) The Ness of Brodgar: As it Stands. 224-243. 


Stone tools from Orkney and Shetland

Coarse stone tools are frequent finds at prehistoric sites in Orkney and Shetland. A whole range of tools was made and used for diverse jobs such as butchering, flint knapping, craft work, agriculture, storage and food processing.

These stone assemblages are often large, dominated by particular tool types and are found at many different types of site including both funerary and domestic settings.

Recent research into the contexts of these various tools from sites across the Northern Isles has demonstrated aspects of continuity and change within and between assemblages. This variability within the artefactual record can be interpreted at  broader level in order to assess the social implications which these patterns may represent.

You can read more at:

Clarke, A 2006 Stone tools and the Prehistory of the Northern Isles British Archaeological Report, 406.