Could the Strange Prehistoric Carved Stone Balls Represent Atoms?
Five carved stone balls are part of the collection at the Ashmolean Museum that were discovered in Scotland (Kincardineshire, Aberdeenshire and Banff). The purpose of those objects is unknown and is baffling archaeologists.
They are made of different stones like sandstone and granite and they are dated back to the Neolithic period between 3000 and 2000 BC. More than 400 stones have been found in Scotland and, including the five stones of the Ashmolean Museum, they have something peculiar about them.
Just recently, scientists have created 3D models of the enigmatic stone balls. Their new models also show some previously hidden patterns and other details that could not be appreciated by the naked eye. In total, 60 models have been made, including the most famous of the stone ball collection, the Towie ball.
As you can see in the picture, there are engraved symmetrical patterns around the surface of the stones.
Most of the stones are of similar size with a diameter of 70mm with the exception of a few larger ones up to 114mm in diameter. The number of knobs on the stones varies from 4 up to 33 with some of the stones also including strange spiral patterns. The stone in the image was found at Skara Brae on Orkney and dates back to 3400 to 2000 BC.
Another famous stone is the Towie Stone that was found on Glas Hill in Aberdeenshire. It is about 3 inches in diameter and contains three embossed round surfaces but each surface includes multiple spiral-like symbols. This stone is also dated back to 2500 to 1900 BC.
The five stones of the Ashmolean museum were part of the collection of Sir John Evans who thought that they have been used probably during war attached to a thong. However such an explanation doesn’t make sense because a) the stones found have zero damage on them, which wouldn’t be the case if they were thrown during war times and b) it would require much skill to prepare even one of those stones just to throw them to the enemy.
Other explanations include that they were used as weights for fishing nets or had a ceremonial role giving the holder the right to speak. But again using the stones as weight wouldn’t explain the complexity of making them.
There is another possible explanation though. Could they be models of the nucleus of atoms? Such a representation of atoms has been widely used in our times as shown in the example image on the left. Is it possible that whoever made those objects had knowledge of chemistry and could represent the atomic structure of different atoms?
At the very least, the embossed symmetrical patterns suggest that whoever made those objects had knowledge of geometry and may even have been able to represent the platonic solids, regular, convex polyhedrons where the faces are congruent, regular polygons, with the same number of faces meeting at each vertex. But in all those cases we know during the Neolithic period that such a knowledge couldn’t exist…. or could it?
For now, their true purpose remains a mystery.
By John Black