Nature Notes

March 7, 2015

Neolithic Orkney

Filed under: Landscape,Orkney Isles — Tags: — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am
Skara Brae, Orkney Isles

Skara Brae, Orkney Isles

Skara Brae

The photo at the top of the page looks out over the Bay of Skaill towards the visitor center of Skara Brae. This is a 5000 year old group of stone houses that was uncovered by a great storm in 1850. When I first visited it 30 years ago, it was attended only by a local caretaker who lived nearby and you could walk throughout and examine it close at hand. Now many years later, tourism is strong in Orkney, there is a large visitor center and tens of thousands of visitors. It is an interesting place and worth a visit but it has lost some of its magic for me.

The Ring of Brodgar

This impressive works is the heart of Neolithic Orkney. Not only do you see a large number of other monuments radiating from it but geographically it has a larger circle of water from the two connected Locks and is in turn surrounded by hills forming a large bowl.

Ring of Brodgar, Orkney Isles Ring of Brodgar, Orkney Isles

The Watch Stone

The Watch Stone is a 5.6m (19 ft.) high monolith that stand at the center of the intersection of the Harray and Stenness Locks. It is a short distance northwest of the Stones of Stenness and southeast of the Ring of Brodgar. There is a local tradition that the stone bends to drink at midnight on New Years Eve. Now that would be a picture.

The Watch Stone, Orkney Islands

Stones of Stennis

Only four of the original 12 stones remain, the largest approach 19 feet in height. The site dates to 3100BC making it one of the earliest of British stone circles.

Stones of Stenness, Orkney IslesBroch of Gurness

The Broch was originally a 26 foot high tower surrounded by individual dwellings  all circled by three ramparts and three ditches. It supported a community of about 40 families and was used from about 200 BC to 100 AD.

Broch of Gurness, Orkney Isles

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