the Broch of Gurness in Evie
the Broch of Gurness in Evie
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  • the Broch of Gurness in Evie
  • an insight into archaeology at the Ness of Brodgar
  • excavation at the Ness of Brodgar in Stenness
  • rock carvings at a local archaeological dig
  • sunset over the Standing Stones of Stenness
  • Barnhouse village in Stenness
  • the Broch of Gurness
  • Quoyness cairn in Sanday
Orkney Archaeology

Outside the Heart of Neolithic Orkney UNESCO World Heritage Site with its world-class and world renowned monuments (Ring of Brodgar, Maes Howe and Skara Brae and the more recently discovered Ness of Brodgar), there are a staggering number of other major archaeological sites across Orkney.  There are so many remains it is impossible to mention all the sites in Orkney whose rich legacy spans more than 5500 years.  Historic Scotland, Visit Orkney and Orkney Islands Council produce leaflets detailing many of the sites of interest, as do isles publications and there are many books detailing the county’s fascinating history.  There appear to be more visible remains in Orkney’s landscape than elsewhere in the UK and scratch the surface, as archaeologists do every year, and there are new finds. 

The Ness of Brodgar which is open for excavation for a six week period beginning in July each year, throws up new and exciting finds regularly, and its scale and sophistication suggest that Orkney may have been the cultural centre of this country thousands of years ago.

Recent discoveries at the Ness of Brodgar include the earliest known examples of grooved ware pottery and walls painted with colour.  Elsewhere, the Orkney Venus, or Westray Wife, was found at the Links of Noltland in Westray.  She is the oldest found representation of a human figure in Scotland.  A Stone Age tomb, containing a 5000-year-old skull was discovered in a garden at Banks in South Ronaldsay in October 2010.  

Archaeologists carry out annual digs in the summer at several important sites including the Ness of Brodgar, Links of Noltland, Wyre and Windwick, South Ronaldsay.  And marine archaeology projects investigating underwater sites are ongoing.  There are many specialists in Orkney offering commercial archaeology services and archaeology holidays and Orkney Archaeological Society, a charity which hosts guided walks and talks.

Important sites to visit in Orkney not mentioned on other web pages include:

  • Ness of Brodgar (guided tours twice daily during excavation period)
  • Wideford Hill Cairn, near Kirkwall, Neolithic tomb
  • Isbister Stalled Cairn, South Ronaldsay, Neolithic tomb
  • Tomb of the Eagles, South Ronaldsay, Neolithic tomb and visitor centre
  • Liddle Burnt Mound, South Ronaldsay, Bronze Age trough, hearth and mound
  • Broch of Gurness, Evie, Iron Age broch tower, Pictish houses
  • Broch of Burrian, North Ronaldsay, Iron Age broch tower
  • Rennibister Earth House, Firth, Iron Age
  • Earl’s and Bishop’s palaces, Kirkwall and Earl’s Palace, Birsay. Medieval and Renaissance.
  • St Nicholas Church, Orphir. Circular medieval church.
  • St Mary’s Church, Wyre, 12th century
Rik Hammond - #NoB2014 - @Ness_Of_Brodgar Dig Diary 24 July 2014 - #archaeology #Orkney
Shelley Foy Robinson - Nat Geo Video: #Archaeology Everywhere via @NatGeoMag
Shetland&OrkneyMove - RT @orkneyjar: The earliest pottery recovered from the Ness of Brodgar to date? #orkney #archaeology
Rik Hammond - #NoB2014 ? @Ness_Of_Brodgar - Trench T ? Rik Hammond 23 July 2014 ? #archaeology #Orkney
Nick Jones - RT @orkneyjar: The earliest pottery recovered from the Ness of Brodgar to date? #orkney #archaeology
Colin Perkins - RT @orkneyjar: The earliest pottery recovered from the Ness of Brodgar to date? #orkney #archaeology
Google News
Archaeology Everywhere Digging for Orkney's many hidden treasures ...
Digging for Orkney's many hidden treasures, excavation director Nick Card and his team make a rare discovery. - ADVERTISEMENT -. Sorry, your browser does not support iframes. Subscriptions. Print and Digital Delivery. Subscribe and help fund Society ...
National Geographic
The 4000-year-old treasure trove now at risk from the sea
Dr Dockrill added: "They are coming in part for their training, but mostly because Orkney has perhaps some of the richest archaeology in the world. "It gives them the experience of working on a complex archeological site where we have buildings that ...
Herald Scotland
Orkney hosts Commonwealth Games Cultural Celebrations
Spanning more than 15 years of production Orcadia & Other Stories provides a survey of the artist's work to date alongside new work created especially for the exhibition in Orkney. The artist's interest in archaeology, local mythology and energy ... (press release)
An invitation to discover the Northern Picts
They spanned an area from mainland north-east Scotland to the Shetland and Orkney Isles, but the late 9th and 10th centuries saw Viking incursions into their lands and the rise of Gaelic kingship. The Picts were eventually absorbed into the greater ...
Past Horizons Archaeology News (press release)