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  • The Ring of Brodgar, Orkney

Orkney's history

With thousands of years of history to uncover, time travel is a reality in Orkney.

Acting like milestones back through time, Orkney’s remarkably well-preserved archaeological and historical sites reflect over 5,000 years of human interaction with the island landscape.

There’s a saying in Orkney that if you stick a spade in the ground, you’ll probably unearth an archaeological site. The islands have one of the highest concentrations of ancient sites in Europe and exciting new discoveries are continually being made.

Orkney’s past surrounds you, with the legacy of a sophisticated Neolithic people, a fierce, yet cultured, Viking society, and the islands’ vital part in two global conflicts all still visible, accessible and, in many cases, tangible.

We’re immensely proud of our heritage in Orkney, but we also love to share it with others, so you’ll find a wealth of information here to help you unlock the stories, mysteries and legends of our islands.

Explore Orkney’s history through our tabs at the top of this page, or take a look at our listings below to start your journey back in time.