Scotland’s earliest face

It’s basically a stick figure made out of rocks, but it’s notable as the earliest anthropomorphic carving ever found in Scotland.

The face and its lozenge-shaped body – measuring just 3.5cm by 3cm – were carved on the Orkney island of Westray between 4,500 and 5,000 years ago.

The enigmatic figurine had lain undisturbed in the earth at the Links of Noltland – one of Orkney’s richest archaeological sites – until just last week.

It’s not only the earliest known Scottish Stone Age carving of a human, but so far it’s the only one.

The cup and ring carvings I blogged out earlier this week are from the same era, and that sort of abstract design is all they’ve found dating to Neolithic times before now. So needless to say, Scottish archaeologists are psyched.

It’s a little on the border between human form and morse code, to be honest, but I can see the person in there.

See, the dots on either side of the Tic-Tac-Toe grid are eyes, the grid is his nose, the scratches above might be hair, the circles on the right and left of the trunk are probably breasts.

The arms are carved on the sides and can’t be seen in this picture.