Category: Around the Ness
The early antiquarians who documented Orkney's ancient monuments paid little attention to the local beliefs surrounding the sites. Read more
Structure Twelve supervisor Jim Rylatt is in Orkney at present, juggling hundreds of contexts to piece together a phased timeline for the building.
On one of the few reasonably pleasant… Read more
At some point in the Neolithic a small, multi-chambered structure was built on high ground at the north-western end of the Ness of Brodgar. Read more
North of the Unstan stalled cairn is an enigmatic earthwork that separates the landward side of the Ness of Onston from the headland.
This arc of two banks and ditches runs across the width of the headland, demarcating an area to the north that is now devoid of features or visible archaeological remains. Read more
A solitary megalith towers over a Neolithic quarry about 350 metres to the south-east of the Staneyhill horned cairn. Read more
A new podcast from History Hit, looking at Orkney's Neolithic remains, including Maeshowe, the Ring of Brodgar, Skara Brae and a section on the Ness of Brodgar, featuring Nick Card and Roy Towers. Read more
Across the waters of the Harray loch, just over two miles north-east of the Ness of Brodgar complex, is one of the few known Orcadian examples of a Neolithic long horned cairn. Read more
Today, Wednesday, December 21, is the winter solstice – a day intextricably linked to Maeshowe in Stenness.
With its south-westerly facing entrance, Maeshowe’s best known attribute is its orientation towards the… Read more
For many years I have been fascinated by an “old tradition” of a prehistoric, eight-mile-long track known as the “Brodgar Road”. This, it was said, marked the route of the megaliths bound for the Ring of Brodgar and Stones of Stenness from the quarry site at Vestrafiold. Read more
Ahead of planned agricultural improvements, the prehistoric site at Howe was excavated from 1978 until 1982 – an operation that revealed a complex series of occupation episodes spanning the Neolithic to Iron Age. Read more
The ditched enclosure known as the Ring of Bookan sits on a ridge a mile to the north-west of the Brodgar stone circle.
The massive earthwork comprises a flat-bottomed ditch – circa 13.5 metres wide (44.3ft) and surviving to a depth of up to two metres (6.6ft) – surrounding an oval, raised platform measuring about 45 metres by 40 metres (147.6 x 131.2ft). Read more
The Orkney encountered by the first farmers, around 3700BC, was very different. Not only did lower sea levels mean more lowland areas, but Orkney was also home to wooded areas containing birch, hazel, rowan, willow, oak and pine. Read more
A few weeks ago conversation at excavation HQ drifted from matters Ness and the Neolithic to apparent Viking Age runes found in the 1920s at the nearby Brodgar farm. Read more
When the Ness of Brodgar was discovered in 2003, it was without parallel. But we now suspect it might not be. Read more
The Ness complex was abandoned at the end of the Neolithic, around 2500BC, but at least one section was brought back into use, some 1,800 years later, in the Iron Age. Read more
Stand in the centre of the Stones of Stenness today and a short distance to the south-east, in the adjacent field, you will see a low mound. This is Big Howe, all that remains of a large Iron Age feature that once dominated an area 150 metres away from the stone circle. Read more
We bring this week to a close they way we started it – with another trail!
This time we head to the west coast of the Orkney Mainland and take… Read more
We were delighted to learn this week that the University of Aberdeen’s George Washington Wilson photographic archive is free to access online.
Operating from Aberdeen, on the Scottish mainland, in… Read more
Over the past few weeks, we have looked at expedient architecture - the idea that some Neolithic buildings were hastily built, perhaps dismantled or simply left to become ruinous. This is not restricted to structures. Read more
Thousands cross the Ness of Brodgar annually. But, if noticed at all, a pair of standing stones between the two stone circles probably don’t get a second glance. Read more
During the Bronze Age, people gravitated towards the sites of already ancient monuments to bury their dead. As a result, clusters of barrow mounds can often be found around chambered cairns and other Neolithic monuments. Read more
Lying around 110 metres downslope and south-west of the Ring of Bookan is the large Bronze Age barrow known as Skaefrue. Read more