Category: Around the Ness

The Ness of Onston enclosure

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

Tracking down the ‘Brodgar road’

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
Ring of Bookan, Orkney. (Sigurd Towrie)

The Ring of Bookan

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
Ring of Brodgar Runes (Sigurd Towrie)

The Norse on the Ness

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
Big Howe. Sigurd Towrie

Big Howe

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


Lying around 110 metres downslope and south-west of the Ring of Bookan is the large Bronze Age barrow known as Skaefrue. Read more