A campaign has been launched to keep a mysterious 4,000-year-old stone ball in the “heart of Scotland”.
The carved object was found on Sheriffmuir in south Perthshire and has been described as an “exceptionally fine example of decorative stone carving”.
The stone balls, which date to the Neolithic era, have long excited archaeologists who remain divided over their original purpose.
Many believe the balls had symbolic or social significance to communities with the objects usually interpreted as being indicators of power or prestige.
They may have been left behind to mark the completion of a new building and some think they may have acted as a weight or geometric tool.
The ball discovered on Sheriffmuir has been allocated to Perth Museum and Art Gallery through Scotland’s Treasure Trove system, which manages newly-discovered objects of historic and cultural significance.
Now, the Perthshire Society of Natural Science has launched a crowdfunding campaign to secure the ‘Sheriffmuir Ball” for future generations.
A spokesman for the society said it aimed to raise £1,625 to enable the ball to remain in the ‘heart of Scotland’ with the museum working to attract a similar sum.
Carved stone balls usually date to around 3,200 to 2,400 BC.
In Scotland, some 520 balls have been found, mainly in Orkney and the North East. Others have been found in the north of England, Ireland and Norway.
A society spokesman added: “The highly decorated Sheriffmuir stone is one of the most southerly of the Scottish balls. Fewer than 50 of all the balls found are decorated and this latest find is an exceptionally fine example of decorative stone carving.”
To donate to the campaign please go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sheriffmuir-ball