Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village on the northwest coast of Mainland Orkney in Scotland overlooking Eynhallow Sound. It is one of the most outstanding surviving examples of a later prehistoric settlement that is unique to northern Scotland.

Dates for the broch are unclear, but it is generally agreed that it was built between 200 and 100 BC - possibly on the site of an earlier settlement. The entire settlement was circled by outer defences comprising of a band of three ramparts and three ditches.

As time progressed, the broch’s defensive role decreased, until around 100 AD, after years of neglect, it was finally abandoned and its upper sections dismantled - probably to provide the building material for later houses in the area. Over the ensuing years, its walls continued to be reduced, as stone provided a valuable source of building material.

photo by The K Team


Orkney Hood

The Orkney Hood gives a fascinating glimpse into Iron Age fashion. The herringbone twill weave mixes sophisticated Danish elements with simpler sections made from the brown wool of the Orkney moorit sheep. Experts think it’s a Viking garment remade by Scottish weavers; an early example of a global design being recycled locally.

To read: Jacqui Wood “The Orkney Hood and an ancient re-cycled textile” [PDF]

Sources: [1,2,3]

Orkney dig dispels caveman image of ancestors

THE image of our Neolithic ancestors as simple souls carving out a primitive existence has been dispelled.

A groundbreaking excavation of a 5,000-year-old temple complex in Orkney has uncovered evidence to suggest that prehistoric people were a great deal more sophisticated than previously thought.

The archaeological dig at the Ness of Brodgar, which is still in its early stages, has already thrown up discoveries that archaeologists say will force us to re-evaluate our understanding of how our ancestors lived.

The picture that has emerged so far points to a complex and capable society that displayed impeccable workmanship and created an integrated landscape. Read more.

Archaeologists Make Surprising Discovery at Neolithic Site in Scotland

It wasn’t a buried cache of gold or silver that excavators came across as they methodically dug down through the remains of one of Scotland’s most ancient archaeological sites. But in a very important sense, the discovery was equally exciting.

They were the skeletal remains of an animal—a very, very big one. And a very old one.

“It is so big that there was an immediate need for an expert opinion,” reported the Dig Diary blogger for the Ness of Brodgar Excavations project.

So they called upon Jen Harland, an expert at identifying faunal remains.
“She has confirmed that the bones belong to an enormous cow—so big indeed that it is probably off the scale for the biggest known modern cow and into the range for an aurochs.” Read more.