The history of North East Scotland is rich and varied. There are stone circles as old as the pyramids of Egypt and Peru, Roman marching camps and of course battle sites and castles galore. This is after all the land where almost every castle boasts a bedroom where Mary Queen of Scots slept on her one and only Scottish tour during 1561, although it is often not recorded with whom she slept.
Most towns and villages in the region have at the very least a standing stone or two. Many are home to more or less complete stone circles which rival Stonehenge. Many have also provided artefacts in the shape of carved stone balls up to 4000 years old.
Known as petrospheres they are usually round and very rarely oval. They have from 3 to 160 protruding knobs on the surface. Their size is fairly uniform at around 2.75 inches or 7 cm across, they date from the late Neolithic to possibly as late as the Iron Age and are usually only found in Scotland. A wide range of theories have been produced to explain their use or significance, without any one theory gaining wide acceptance. They could be weapons, loom weights or mystical and religious objects. No one really knows for sure.
This piece in the village of Old Meldrum is by Sculptor Janet McEwan. It is of course considerably larger than the Iron Age versions but does at least give a flavour of the genre.
Titled ‘The Eternal Present: GNEISS GRANITE GABBRO’ it uses granite material of three types, sourced in three local Aberdeenshire quarries the designs being inspired by the forms of the three recorded finds of late Neolithic Carved stone balls, close to Oldmeldrum.