Major archaeological discoveries on Orkney

One of the subjects that seems to be close to the hearts of a great many Dunnett readers is archaeology, and when combined with the enchanting location of Thorfinn’s Orkney Isles where Maes Howe and the Ring of Brodgar appeared within the King Hereafter story, this becomes very much on-topic. A few days ago, no longer able to keep my mind on ever-present work tasks, I escaped into my list of favourite sites for a few minutes and visited Sigurd Towrie’s Orkneyjar. It was with some shock that I realised that the digging season was already shutting down and that I hadn’t looked at the latest developments on the big excavation at the Ness of Brodgar this year and hadn’t realised the amount of investigation going on in the Ring itself during this summer.

The developments on both sites have been astonishing, with many structures of major significance discovered and new information about sea levels and the likely differences in topography and landscape in the area which suggest a radical reinterpretation of the way in which the structures of the area may have been used. The excavations in the Ring of Brodgar, principally two large trenches at opposite sides of the ring, have been deeper than ever before and amongst other things should help to establish a much better idea of the real date of the structure and shed new light on the methods of construction.

It would be pointless for me to even attempt any more of a summary here – there is simply far too much and as yet, with the digging only recently coming to an end, much of the discoveries have not yet been analysed or organised into anything resembling conclusions. That work will doubtless be going on over the winter and promises to be intriguing . For now just visit the site and follow the many threads and excavation diary notes. Leave plenty of time – they’ve found an awful lot of buildings, artefacts and information and you may well emerge to find it’s already tomorrow!


Major archaeological discoveries on Orkney — 1 Comment

  1. The excavation site sits halfway between the Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stenness. Flanked on both sides by water, access to the Ness could only be gained from the south-east or north-west. As such, visitors had to pass through either the Ring of Brodgar, or Standing Stones of Stenness, as part of their journey.

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