By: Amanda Froelich,
5 stone balls discovered in Scotland (Kincardineshire, Aberdeenshire, and Banff), part of a collection at the Ashmolean Museum, are baffling archaeologists in their purpose.
Dating back to 3,000 and 2,000 BC, the five stones at the museum are just some of over 425 stones which have been found, all featuring peculiar symmetrical patterns.
Composed of different stones like sandstone and granite, they’re intricately designed, and like modern examples of atoms, are geometrically balanced.
Most of the stones are similar in size with a diameter of 70 mm except for a few larger ones up to 114 mm in diameter. The many knobs vary from 4 up to 33 with some of the stones also including spiral patterns.
The five stones in the museum were part of the collection of Sir John Evans who hypothesized that they had been used during war attached to a thong. However, the lack of damage to the stones would suggest that this isn’t an accurate assumption, as well as the intense preparation to create such a ball for war doesn’t make sense.
Other explanations include that they were possibly used as weights for fishing nets or had a ceremonial role, giving the holder the right to speak.
However, there is another theory: could the symmetrically balanced and intricately carved stones be a model of the nucleus of atoms? Many findings suggest past civilizations were quite intelligent, recognizing star patterns of galaxies scientists are now just discovering and perhaps even utilizing the energy of the universe to move inanimate objects. If such theories were true, perhaps these stone balls were just a small part in understanding the universe; if one had knowledge of chemistry, it would be possible to represent the atomic structure of different atoms, such as in the stones.
At the very least, the embossed symmetrical patterns suggest that the creator of these objects had knowledge of geometry and may even have been able to represent the platonic solids, regular, convex polyhedrons, and regular polygons, with the same number of faces meeting at each vertex.
For now, their true purpose remains a mystery, but speculation continues to broaden perspective.