5,000 years of Scottish history summed up in 25 objects

The Lewis Chessmen are ranked number nine on the list of 25 items. Picture: Neil Hanna
The Lewis Chessmen are ranked number nine on the list of 25 items. Picture: Neil Hanna
Share this article
0
Have your say

They are the objects deemed to have shaped Scotland’s history, ranging from a medieval football to Antarctic goggles and a dancing fiddle.

The list of 25 items compiled by an expert panel for the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and covering over 5,000 years of Scottish history are to be published in an ebook by tourism experts.

Dolly the sheep was the first mammal in the world to be cloned from an adult somatic cell. Picture: Ian Rutherford/TSPL

Dolly the sheep was the first mammal in the world to be cloned from an adult somatic cell. Picture: Ian Rutherford/TSPL

The objects were chosen based on chronological and geographic spread - from Shetland to Dumfries and Galloway - alongside their individual interesting stories. The final 25 were chosen by a panel that included representatives from Historic Environment Scotland, National Museums of Scotland, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and VisitScotland, which published the book.

Gwen Raez, senior marketing manager at VisitScotland said: “We’re delighted to unveil the list of 25 objects that we think best represent Scotland’s rich and colourful history – but it is by no means an exhaustive collection and we know there will be many more out there that people want to add. We chose items that were not only important to the history of the country, but also had an interesting narrative behind them and would inspire people to find out more.”

The oldest object in the list is a barbed harpoon point, originally found in the Macarthur Cave, Oban, that dates back to the Middle Stone Age, and is one of the earliest instruments used to hunt and fish in Scotland.

The most modern in the list is Dolly the Sheep - the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell – who is currently housed at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and celebrated her 20th anniversary in 2016.

More unusual objects include the Orkney Venus – the earliest known depiction of the female human form - which dates from the Neolithic period and was uncovered at the Links of Noltland on the Orkney island of Westray in 2009 and the Lewis Chessmen - who feature at number nine on the date ordered list.

A violin which ignited Robert Burns’ rebellious streak is another object that makes the final cut. In around 1779, Burns started taking dancing lessons, accompanied by a violin owned by his dance teacher, William Gregg – an act which his father would have deemed sinful behaviour.

Sir Walter Scott’s desk and Captain Scott’s snow goggles are also on the list.

Dr Jeff Sanders of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland said: “As you can imagine, capturing thousands of years of Scottish prehistory and history with just a handful of objects was not an easy task. It’s great to see a mixture of old favourites and unexpected items come together to tell a story.”

Helen Ireland, director of external relations at the National Museums Scotland said: “The objects selected from the national collections demonstrate the incredible range of our collections.”

THE 25 OBJECTS

1 Barbed Harpoon Point

2 The Orkney Venus

3 Poltalloch Jet Necklace

4 The Carpow Logboat

5 Mousa Broch

6 Roman Distance Slab

7 Carved Footprint

8 St. Martin’s Cross

9 The Lewis Chessmen

10 Stone Effigy at Sweetheart Abbey

11 Robert the Bruce Equestrian Statue

12 Honours of Scotland

13 Oldest Football

14 Castle of Mey Tapestry

15 Penicuik Jewels

16 Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Travelling Canteen

17 The Gregg Violin

18 Sir Walter Scott’s Desk

19 Mackintosh Trail Music Room

20 Paisley Shawls

21 Tom Morris Junior Medal

22 Dallas Dhu Stencil

23 Captain Scott’s Snow Goggles

24 Steam Locomotive “Maude”

25 Dolly the Sheep

READ MORE: Scientific legacy of Dolly the sheep remembered 20 years on