Thursday, 14 September 2017

Neolithic Orkney

It really is incomprehensible how old Orkney is. Not only in terms of how long the land has been here, but also how long there have been people inhabiting the islands. Today we ventured off to see parts of Neolithic Orkney. We started at Maeshowe, a chambered tomb that is more than 5,000 years old. 

Ed and Lynne bundled up against the wind and drizzle

The tomb

6 ft Ed exiting a 3 ft tunnel 

From Maeshowe, we ventured on up the road to Skara Brae and encountered the Running of the Bulls - Orkney Style as a farmer was moving his herd from one pasture to another. 

Skara Brae is an incredibly well-preserved neolithic village. The village likely housed up to 100 people. These people lived close together and appear to have worked in a community workshop where they built their tools and made their pottery. 

one of the homes - fireplace in the centre and beds along the walls

the workshop

another home

Skara Brae is on the property that belongs to Skaill House. A severe storm blew in off of the Bay of Skaill in 1850 and tore away at the shore line exposing remnants of the long buried neolithic village. The 7th Laird of Skaill recognized the significance of this and contacted the Society of Antiquaries in Edinburgh. Over several years, he continued to excavate the area. 

Skaill House

From Skara Brae, we headed over to the standing stones at the Ring of Brodgar. This was the site of Pagan rituals celebrating the changing of the seasons, the spring and winter solstice, honouring death and other life changes. 

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