The Ancient Stone Atoms

Stone atoms

There are five extremely peculiar carved stone balls in the collection of the Ashmolean Museum in Scotland. Archaeologists are having hard time explaining their purpose.

The balls are carved from sandstone and granite. The rocks date back to 3,000-2,000 BC. There are more than 400 similar artifacts found in Scotland but the most unusual are these kept in the Ashmolean Museum.


As you can see, there are a lot of strange geometrical carvings on the surface of the stone balls.

Most of the balls have a diameter of 70 millimeters with the exception of a couple, the diameter of which is 114 millimeters. The number of convex areas vary from 4 to 33 and some balls contain spiral and disc-shaped carvings.


This carved stone ball was found in Skara Brae of the Orkney archipelago. It dates back to 3,400-2,000 BC.

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Another interesting example was found in Aberdeenshire. This stone ball has a diameter of 6 cm. All over the surface we can see intricately carved spirals that are almost geometrically perfect.



Before going to the Ashmolean Museum, the five stones were in the private collection of Sir John Evans who thought that the carved balls were used as ballista balls for ancient cannons. But there is absolutely no damage on the surface of the balls, so this theory is highly improbable. And the intricate artwork suggests that they were used for something completely different.

There is a hypothesis that the stone balls were used as weights for fishing nets. But this theory also can’t explain why the stone balls were so intricately carved.


There is another one, freakier, explanation. Maybe these stone balls are schematic representations of atomic nuclei. Our modern models of different atomic nuclei are very similar to the designs of the balls. Is it possible that their creator had profound knowledge in chemistry and tried to show different atomic structures?



There is no doubt that the craftsman who made the carved stone balls possessed deep knowledge in geometry, especially when it comes to complex polygons. How could Neolithic people possess such knowledge?