A north-east artefact thought to be around 5,500 years old is to be part of an exhibition celebrating Stonehenge.
A carved stone ball which originated in Old Deer is now featuring in the showcase entitled Making Connections: Stonehenge in its Prehistoric World at the Stonehenge Visitors Centre.
The ball, made from iron-rich quartzite, is thought to be from the late Neolithic period, also known as the New Stone Age.
The north-east artefact forms part of the exhibition, curated in partnership with The British Museum, which will run until April 21 next year.
Making Connections aims to tell the story of changing prehistoric connections through precious objects of stone, chalk, gold and bronze.
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Experimental archaeologist James Dilley was tasked with attempting to replicate the stone ball in an online video.
An experienced craftsman and PhD student, the work took James weeks to complete.
He said: “I specialise in prehistoric technology, and as a result I know the north-east of Scotland quite well. The work took weeks and weeks – I used tools a Neolithic craftsperson would have used.
“I work with flint a lot and so I had some experience – the striking and grinding uses a lot of hand-eye co-ordination – however it did take a lot of trial and error.”
Though the exact purpose of the stone ball is not known, it is thought they may have been ceremonial objects exchanged between communities.
Hundreds of these carved stone balls were made and used between 3100 and 2600 BC.
James added: “The ball was acquired by the British Museum in 1930. We aren’t sure exactly where it came from – we know it was presented to the public in Edinburgh in 1874 and we think it may have been discovered in a cairn but that hasn’t been proven.
“Aberdeenshire is pretty much the ‘heart’ of where these Neolithic stone balls have been discovered – there are several in the Discovery Centre in Mintlaw.”