This ‘point’ is made of bone. It was deliberately shaped like this, to be used as a tool or dress pin. The surface of the point is very smooth and shiny. This happens when bone rubs against another material frequently which creates a polishing effect. This suggests it was more likely used as a pin – constantly rubbing against fabric.

It was found at Castle of Old Wick and is what archaeologists call a ‘stray find’, meaning that it was found by chance. Bone pins have been used since the Stone Ages. However it is likely that this one is from the Iron Age or medieval period as we know there were people living on this land during those times.

Castle of Old Wick

The history of Castle of Old Wick remains obscure and enigmatic. It was traditionally thought to have been built by Earl Harald Maddadson in the 1100s, but the surviving structure seems to date to the 14th century or later.

Documentary evidence shows that it was associated with the powerful Sutherland and Oliphant families, and was besieged during the Sutherland-Sinclair feud of the 16th century.

The Old Man of Wick

The four-storey tower dominates the castle complex. The seaward side collapsed long ago, and the castle is in an advanced state of ruin, but some features still survive:

  • narrow window slits
  • ledges for supporting timber upper floors
  • a fireplace on the second floor

Remains of other structures lie behind the tower, though these have not been archaeologically excavated.

Find out more about Castle of Old Wick


l 80mm (l 3 1/8")
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Castle of Old Wick
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