Earliest Known Human Figurine in Scotland Found at Westray, Orkney

News from Orkneyjar, which reports on a remarkable find by archaeologist Jakob Kainz, who recently discovered a carved sandstone noltlandcarvingrepresentation of a round human face atop a lozenge-shaped body, as depicted here. Measuring 3 cm by 3.5 cm, this tiny artefact is apparently one of only three such items dating to the Neolithic ever found in Britain, though whether this was intended to portray a human alive at the time, or symbolised something else, such as a deity, has yet to be determined. This from the linked article:

Richard Strachan, project manager and senior archaeologist with the Historic Scotland cultural resources team, explained how the discovery was made.  “The find was made by archaeologist, Jakob Kainz. It looked like the stone had been carved. As some of the mud crumbled off he saw an eye, then another and a nose, then a whole face staring back.

“It was one of those “eureka” moments. None of the archaeology team have seen anything like it before, it’s incredibly exciting. The discovery of a Neolithic carving of a human was quite a moment for everyone to share in.”

The find was made on the site of what had once been a farmhouse, and there is speculation that because this is such a fine example of Neolithic craftsmanship, it was unlikely to have been discarded as rubbish, leaving archaeologists to speculate whether it was unintentionally lost or deliberately secreted away on the site.

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