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Buckquoy spindle-whorl

The Buckquoy spindle-whorl is an Ogham-inscribed spindle-whorl dating from the Early Middle Ages, probably the 8th century, which was found in 1970 in Buckquoy, Birsay, Orkney, Scotland.[1] Made of sandy limestone, it is about 36 mm in diameter and 10 mm thick.[2] It is the only known spindle-whorl with an Ogham inscription.

The inscription was once used as proof that the Pictish language was not Indo-European, being variously read as:

  • E(s/n)DDACTA(n/lv)IM(v/lb)
  • (e/)(s/n/)DDACTANIMV
  • (e/)TMIQAVSALL(e/q)[3]

However, in 1995 historian Katherine Forsyth reading


proposed that the inscription was a standard Old Irish ogham benedictory message, Benddact anim L. meaning "a blessing on the soul of L.".[4] The stone from which the whorl was made, and on which the inscription was written, is likely to have originated in Orkney.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Ritchie (1970)
  2. ^ Forsyth (1995)
  3. ^ Jackson (1977) Jackson states that "[a]ll of the readings are wholly unintelligible and cannot be Celtic," and that "[w]e must be content to write off this inscription as unintelligible, like all the other 'Pictish' inscriptions."
  4. ^ Forsyth (1995), p. 49.
  5. ^ Collins (1977)


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