Archeological art

Our archaeological art takes its inspiration from artefacts found in Orkney. Each one is a unique piece, made by archaeologist Chris Gee.

In the long summer evenings, when it hardly gets dark at all here in Orkney, you will often find Chris in his garden overlooking the archipelago, where he is chipping away at another stone. He finds delight in recreating Stone Age art using their tools and methods. And like them, he carefully selects local stone, with beautiful colours and patterns. In this way, he makes Neolithic ceremonial maces, stone axes, carved stone balls, enigmatic carved stone objects, and beautifully patterned sandstone which he sometimes colours with hematite and other natural dyes. It is awe-inspiring to think that his hands are recreating the same movements that someone right here in Orkney did more than five thousand years ago.

Below, you will find a video showing Chris at work, and more details about each piece of art.

A selection of Neolithic carved stone objects by Chris Gee
Selection of carved stone balls by Chris Gee, photographed at the Ring of Brodgar, Orkney, 2017.
Three carved stone balls by Chris Gee: 'Still to be found', 'Cursiter ball', 'Orphir ball'.

Creating carved stone art

Christopher is a native of Orkney, and has since he was very young had a deep love for the archaeology of his islands. There is nothing he loves more than taking long and very slow walks through the landscape, letting the land speak to him about what it looked like in days long ago.

When not creating archaeological art, Christopher works for Orkney College’s archaeology team, and has been involved in many big and small excavations, including Smerquoy Neolithic settlement (read his blog here), where they found Orkney’s oldest piece of art, and of course the famous Ness of Brodgar led by Nick Card.

Making a Carved Stone Ball

Individual pieces of art

Below, you will find photos and descriptions of each piece of art. Chris’s artwork is for sale, and you can find details of how to purchase individual pieces below. Please contact us if you wish to discuss a personal commission (ragnhild@ljoslandgee.plus.com).

Common Hexamer type carved stone ball, made in Orkney red sandstone.
Common Hexamer type carved stone ball, made in Orkney red sandstone. SOLD
This carved stone ball, in Orkney red sandstone, was made from a drawing by the antiquarian J. W. Cursiter. The original is currently missing.
This carved stone ball, in Orkney red sandstone, was made from a drawing by the antiquarian J. W. Cursiter. The original is currently missing.
"Still to be found" is the name of this carved stone ball, because it is a ball that could have been, combining elements from other Orkney carved stone balls.
"Still to be found" is the name of this carved stone ball, because it is a ball that could have been, combining elements from other Orkney carved stone balls. Pier Arts Centre Christmas exhibition. SOLD
This carved stone ball is based on the one found in the Ness of Brodgar excavation, but in Old Red Sandstone - so iconic of Orkney - instead of the original Camptonite
This carved stone ball is based on the one found in the Ness of Brodgar excavation, but in Old Red Sandstone - so iconic of Orkney - instead of the original Camptonite. SOLD
Carved stone ball in Old Red Sandstone
This carved stone ball, in Old Red Sandstone, combines the 'wrapping' from the Hillhead ball with the two ends from the lost Orphir ball. SOLD
The form of this carved stone ball is based closely on a Late Neolithic ball found at Hillhead, St Ola, Orkney in the late 19th Century. The carved square patterns, chevrons and spiralling lines are also found on Orcadian Neolithic grooved ware pottery and decorated stonework. It is possible that the spiralling design and pleated chevron could provide a rare representation of an organic cord binding and wrapping around a carved stone ball that normally wouldn’t survive. This ball has been pecked and carved to shape by Orcadian archaeologist Christopher Gee using the same local stone tools and techniques as used in the Late Neolithic. The ball is made from Orkney Red Sandstone which has been used for its colour and texture in architecture at the Ness of Brodgar. The central upright column in Stucture 10’s central dresser was made from the same peck-dressed red sandstone. During the Middle Ages red sandstone was also used in St Magnus Cathedral and other high status Orcadian buildings.
The form of this carved stone ball is based closely on a Late Neolithic ball found at Hillhead, St Ola, Orkney in the late 19th Century. The carved square patterns, chevrons and spiralling lines are also found on Orcadian Neolithic grooved ware pottery and decorated stonework. It is possible that the spiralling design and pleated chevron could provide a rare representation of an organic cord binding and wrapping around a carved stone ball that normally wouldn’t survive. This ball has been pecked and carved to shape by Orcadian archaeologist Christopher Gee using the same local stone tools and techniques as used in the Late Neolithic. The ball is made from Orkney Red Sandstone which has been used for its colour and texture in architecture at the Ness of Brodgar. The central upright column in Stucture 10’s central dresser was made from the same peck-dressed red sandstone. During the Middle Ages red sandstone was also used in St Magnus Cathedral and other high status Orcadian buildings. SOLD
Carved stone ball from Orphir, by Chris Gee
This carved stone ball, by Chris Gee, recreates a lost original from Orphir, Orkney. The original belonged to the Cursiter Collection, but was not with the rest when the collection was donated to the Huntarian Museum in Glasgow.
Chris Gee's Ness of Brodgar carved stone ball alongside original
Chris Gee's version of the Ness of Brodgar carved stone ball is here shown alongside the original archaeological artefact. They are within 10 grams of one another. The dark colour of the camptonite oxydises to the brown colour of the original with time.
Carved stone balls by Chris Gee
The Old Red Sandstone carved stone ball on top is based on an archaeological artefact from Hillhead, Orkney. Its pattern may symbolise wrapping.
Ness of Brodgar patterned stone in colour
This is how the patterned stone which was found in the Ness of Brodgar excavation in 2015 may have looked in colour. On top: a Skara Brae inspired horned spiral pattern. This one was made for the Pier Arts Centre sales exhibition in 2015. SOLD
Twice Found and Brodgar Patterned Stone in colour with Skara Brae spiral. Neolithic art by Chris Gee, Orkney.
These two pieces of art were made for the Pier Arts Centre exhibition in December 2015. The darker object in front is named Twice Found, because Chris found its original twice, in a ploughed field at Bookan, near Brodgar. SOLD
Ness of Brodgar Stone for Nick Card, bu Chris Gee
This version of the Ness of Brodgar patterned stone in colour is based on an original found in 2015, but here shown in colour, using natural mineral pigments. There is evidence from the Ness of Brodgar for the use of such pigments on other stone, so the original may well have been in colour, too. This one was made for the excavation's director, Nick Card.
Based on an original from Hillhead near Kirkwall, this carved stone ball has a pattern which may symbolise wrapping. This version is in Old Red Sandstone.
Based on an original from Hillhead near Kirkwall, this carved stone ball has a pattern which may symbolise wrapping. This version is in Old Red Sandstone. NOT FOR SALE
Made in Old Red Sandstone with a natural light stripe, this carved stone ball is of a Common Hexamer shape, with six bosses facing each other in pairs. This layout is the most common in Scotland, but uncommon in Orkney. SOLD
A Common Hexamer type carved stone ball, in camptonite.
Carved Stone Ball, similar to one found at the Ness of Brodgar, made by Christopher Gee
Carved Stone Ball, similar in layout to one found at the Ness of Brodgar, made by Christopher Gee NOT FOR SALE
An enigmatic carved stone object, at the Pier Arts Centre in Stromness. It is named Twice Found, because Christopher found the original twice during fieldwalking at Bookan, near the Ness of Brodgar. SOLD
Neolithic Mace Head, by Chris Gee.
Neolithic Mace Head, by Chris Gee. The hole through this mace head has been gradually bored by many visitors at the Ness of Brodgar and community archaeology events in Orkney, using a hand held bow drill.
Ness of Brodgar type carved stone ball in Orkney dyke rock
A Ness of Brodgar type carved stone ball in igneous dyke rock, made on commission. The Ness of Brodgar ball has six bosses, stacked above each other in two groups of three.
Ness of Brodgar type carved stone ball in camptonite, made on commission. Notice the natural crystals, that go in a band like the Milky Way. SOLD
Ness of Brodgar type carved stone ball in camptonite, made on commission. Notice the natural crystals, that go in a band like the Milky Way. SOLD
Chris Gee Brodgar carved decorated stone in colour
Chris Gee Brodgar decorated stone in colour