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Carved Stone Balls

This was made as an illustration for Dr A’s presentation at TAG (Theoretical Archaeology Group Conference) this year.

He only made up one of the explanations (guess which). Some of these theories come from outside the discipline of archaeology. But not all.

If you want to read more about carved stone balls, Dr A recommends Gavin MacGregor’s paper in World Archaeology, which is the basis for the ‘sculpture for the senses’ explanation.

Dr H

Carved Stone Balls

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4 responses to “Carved Stone Balls

  1. Well, wolf theory is plausible, because it has been shown that the crania of wolves are immune to jagged, smoothed oval and round pebbles, but are easily cracked open if bizarre shapes are inscribed upon them. Where the wolf theory falls apart is the disempowerment of the wolf from human-animal engagements that this theory imposes upon the Neolithic communities of northern Britain, whose personhood was probably routinely ‘distributed’ by having their heads bitten off by lupine attack.

    Now, the eggs of Cthulhu theory is widely accepted. Many have been known to crack open, spewing forth hundreds of horrid octopoid miniatures ready to suck away the very souls of the living. But its weakness as a theory lies in the absence of a Deleuzian framework to understand the flows of becoming by which these eggs take on social significances and are enchained in networks of exchange relationships as they gnaw away at reality.

    It is well known that, probably from dinosaur-aliens from Andromeda, ‘the ancients’ knew all about mathematics long before the Greeks, so it is not surprising that their geometry is so perfect. The only problem here is that this approach is hyper-diffusionist at its roots and enshrined in the delusionist view that dinosaur-aliens are behind everything (including the Heritage Lottery Fund).

    What I am getting at is that, my guess is that the senses explanation he just made up. Who would imagine that balls could be held and seen?

  2. Dr H

    And so the debate continues…

  3. Alice

    I’ve always thought it would be interesting to dip them in coloured pigment and roll them onto skin as a method of body painting…. but I mean, the Cthulhu interpretation seems pretty solid. 🙂

  4. Dr H

    It seems we’ve missed out some interpretations… they have also been described as weights – for weighing down nets or as units of measurement. I agree, though, that the Cthulhu argument has a lot in its favour.

    Rolling carved stone balls covered in pigment all over your body? – this could start a craze. Here comes the new look of 2014.

    Seriously, though, it would be really interesting to see how well the patterns printed if the stone balls were covered in pigment. Dr A is working with some artists to create 3D printed carved stone balls sometime this year. I will have to suggest that they try printing with the finished items.

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