Sponsor a Find

Sponsor a Find Sample Certificate

The Ness of Brodgar excavation has produced tens of thousands of finds – pot, worked stone, flint, decorated stone, pumice, charcoal, not to mention vast quantities of bone and samples.

All of this material holds the story of the Neolithic complex.

We must curate it all to the highest standards, not just for current archaeological science but also for the future, when new techniques will allow more questions to be answered.

Although all of this is under way, we need more funds to complete this mammoth task and this is where Sponsor a Find comes in.

  • Periodically we will post details of finds and invite you to sponsor them.
  • No limit on the number of people sponsoring each find.
  • Sponsor the find just once or make regular donations towards its care.
  • Give your sponsorship as a gift to someone else.
  • “Collect” types of finds or from the different trenches and structures.
  • We’ll send you a sponsorship certificate.

The finds

In this new batch of Sponsor a Find, all of the artefacts will be on display at the Maeshowe Visitor Centre, Stenness, Orkney as part of our summer exhibition, which runs from July 11 to August 12, 2022. So you can sponsor a find and then see it up close and in person.

Objects from batch 1 and batch 2 are still available to sponsor.


Spatulate Stone Tool

Spatulate stone tool in situ. (ORCA)

Spatulate stone tool in situ. (ORCA)

  • Small Find no 8970
  • Structure Eight, Trench P
  • Found 2011

One of over 70 spoon-like artefacts found at the Ness to date. They are beautifully made, in most cases very delicate and show little sign of use. What were they for? We’re not sure. UHI Archaeology Institute student Gary Lloyd has been researching the artefacts and his presentation can be viewed here.

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Pillow Stone

Pillow stone.

Pillow stone.

  • Small Find no 15037
  • Structure Fourteen, Trench P
  • Found 2012

An unusual form of polished stone, the name reflecting the shape of the tool. They are very carefully shaped to a sub-rectangular form with curved sides and ends, and convex faces and edges.

They are made from distinctively coloured, hard igneous and metamorphic rocks; however they were used, their appearance seems to have mattered. The smoothness of the finish on several examples suggests that they may have had a role in the processing or working of soft materials such as hide or cloth, while the pecking and faceting on others may indicate secondary use as an anvils and hammers for flint knapping

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Skeuomorph Pottery Sherd

Skeuomorph Pottery Sherd

  • Small Find no 16858
  • Structure Ten, Trench P
  • Found 2013

The sherd from a pot found among the deliberate deposits under the buttresses in Structure Ten.

The decoration is highly unusual and looks like stitching, suggesting the vessel may be a skeuomorph – an artefact made in one material (fired clay) to look like one made normally in a different material, in this case leather.

Is it a ceramic representation of a leather bag or bucket? They must have existed and perished on site long ago, but the impression is heightened by the discovery of a neonatal calf bone inside the pot. Calf skin makes excellent leather artefacts. Could this be another hint?

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Barbed and Tanged Flint Arrowhead

Barbed and Tanged Flint Arrowhead

The arrowhead in situ.

  • Small Find no 30645
  • Structure 10, Trench P
  • Found 2017

The only example of a classic Bronze Age barbed and tanged arrowhead found on site to date.

The arrowhead was found along with distinctive Bronze Age pottery on top of the cattle bone deposits filling the outer passageway of Structure Ten.

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Banded Gneiss Polished Stone Axe

The banded gneiss axehead in Structure Ten.

The banded gneiss axehead in Structure Ten.

  • Small Find no 36396
  • Structure Ten, Trench P
  • Found 2018

A beautiful polished stone axe made of banded gneiss, with one of the bands being orange-coloured.

Despite its beauty, the artefact shows clear signs of use wear. One side of the blade had been carefully re-sharpened, but not the other which still shows the marks of heavy usage.

Both sides have then had a secondary function as a small anvil, with the effects of percussion showing as small, rough depressions in the surface.

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