[Author: Tom Muir]
The 2017 summer exhibition at the Orkney Museum, ‘Conversations with Magic Stones’, was the culmination of a project that researched Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age stone artefacts and the collectors from Orkney who gathered them.
The project was led by Professor Mark Edmunds and Dr Hugo Anderson-Whymark, Ann Clark and Dr Antonia Thomas, assisted by our own Archaeology Curator, Gail Drinkall. Mark and Hugo did some amazing detective work, tracking down Orkney artefacts from around the country and identifying pieces that had lost their provenance.
It is always exciting to hear of their latest discoveries, like two archaeological Sherlock Holmes they uncovered the stories of many artefacts that had been forgotten.
The Orkney Museum exhibition ran simultaneously with two other exhibitions, one at Stromness Museum focusing on ethnographic stone artefacts that found their way to Orkney and one at the Pier Arts Centre focusing on how prehistoric stone artefacts influenced artists, especially Barbara Hepworth.
As an Orcadian I am immensely grateful to Mark, Hugo, Ann and Antonia for the work that they did to increase our knowledge of our prehistoric stone tools and the enigmatic carved stone balls and maceheads, whose use may have been ceremonial.
The legacy of this exhibition is a beautiful and fascinating website, which I can highly recommend to anyone. Follow the link below o view the site and to read the fascinating book that accompanied the exhibition.