Perched on a peninsula in the heart of the Orkney archipelago, the Ness of Brodgar is a truly remarkable site. Long-running excavations there are bringing a wealth of discoveries to light, illuminating the life and death of a sophisticated Neolithic community (see CA 335).
Perched above Windwick Bay on South Ronaldsay, Orkney, the site known as The Cairns has been under continuous excavation by the Archaeology Institute of the University of the Highlands and Islands for several years. Although best known for its Iron Age broch (see CA 275), it seems that the area continued to be used even after this structure fell into ruin around the mid-2nd century AD. Recent radiocarbon dates are now shedding new light on this post-broch occupation, particularly on how it reflects the shifting social structure of late Iron Age Scotland.
As 2017 was Scotland’s Year of Heritage, History, and Archaeology (part of a programme of themed years that has been running since 2009), CA’s first issue of 2018 is a ‘Scottish special’, looking back over the festivities and celebrating some of Scotland’s fascinating archaeological sites and the ongoing research that is bringing their secrets to […]
For over a decade, archaeological research at the Ness of Brodgar in Orkney has uncovered an astonishing array of Neolithic structures, including a spectacular settlement, monumental buildings, and hundreds of examples of prehistoric artwork. Nick Card brings us the latest news from the Ness.
Orkney has long been renowned for its wealth of well preserved Neolithic sites, such as Skara Brae, and it seems that much is known about the time and region. But a new study by a team at Historic England has set out to challenge our current understanding of the chronology of the period by compiling […]
Braving the inter-tidal waves at at Cata Sand beach on Sanday, Orkney, archaeologists have uncovered the first ‘classic’ early Neolithic house to be discovered on the island. Dating from c.3400-3100 BC, the house’s remains comprise two construction layers, with internal structures ranging from a stone set hearth and various pits to partitioning walls. Its footprint […]
Between 1974 and 1981 a remarkable campaign of excavations in Dublin exposed a swathe of the Viking town. From an archaeological perspective the conditions were perfect, with waterlogged layers preserving the vestiges of hundreds of houses and thousands of artefacts. But this was also a race against the clock, with public demonstrations buying more time […]
Investigating the evolution of house societies in Orkney For decades, the accepted view of the Orcadian Neolithic was one of two cultural packages with a sharp break in the middle. New research has revealed a much more complex and nuanced picture, however. Carly Hilts spoke to Colin Richards to find out more. The traditional understanding of the Neolithic period […]
Neolithic tombs are often seen as ‘houses for the dead’. Striking similarities between the residences of the living and repositories for the deceased have long suggested a symbolic link, but could it be the other way round? Evidence from Orkney suggests that the departed were being laid to rest in their cairns for about 300 […]