Westray Wife
The Westray Wife is a small Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

A figurine is a statuette that represents a human, deity or animal. Figurines may be realistic or iconic, depending on the skill and intention of the creator. The earliest were made of stone or clay...

, 4 centimetres (1.6 in) in height, carved from sandstone
Sandstone is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized minerals or rock grains.Most sandstone is composed of quartz and/or feldspar because these are the most common minerals in the Earth's crust. Like sand, sandstone may be any colour, but the most common colours are tan, brown, yellow,...

 that was discovered during an Historic Scotland
Historic Scotland
Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government, responsible for historic monuments in Scotland.-Role:As its website states:...

 dig at the Links of Noltland
Links of Noltland
Links of Noltland is the archaeological site of a Neolithic village near Grobust Bay on the north coast of Westray in Orkney, Scotland.Excavations at the site in the 1980s found a Neolithic building, which is now in the care of Historic Scotland who are funding further excavation...

, on Westray
Westray is one of the Orkney Islands in Scotland, with a population of around 550 people. Its main village is Pierowall, with a heritage centre, the ruined Lady Kirk and ferries to Papa Westray.-Geography and geology:...

, Orkney, Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, in the summer of 2009. It was the first Neolithic carving of a human form to have been found in Scotland, and to date it is the earliest depiction of a face found in the United Kingdom.

A second figurine of about the same size and shape as the Westray Wife, but made from clay
Clay is a general term including many combinations of one or more clay minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure.- Formation :Clay minerals...

, and missing its head, was discovered by archaeologists at the same Links of Noltland site during the summer of 2010. This figurine, 3.4 centimetres (1.3 in) in height, has a rectangular panel decorated with triangles on the front of its torso, which may represent a tunic, and a punched hole in the centre of its stomach. A number of small clay balls have also been discovered at the site, and it is possible that these were intended for use as heads for similar figurines.

It has been noted that the original figure's eyes bear a resemblance to "eyebrow motif" carvings found in a chambered cairn on the Holm of Papa
Holm of Papa
The Holm of Papa is a very small uninhabited island in the Orkney islands. It is around 15 ha in size...

. Archaeologist Richard Strachan has said:
Despite the figurine's name, it not certain that the Westray Wife does represent a female form, as the marks initially interpreted as breasts may in fact represent clothing fasteners and clothing fabric.

The figurine is on display in the Westray Heritage Centre in Pierowall for the summer of 2010, and enterprising local bakers WFM Brown have created "Westray Wifie" shortbread replicas for sale. In 2010 some local businesses reported a 45% increase in turnover since the discovery of the figurine.
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