The Ness of Brodgar is an archaeological excavation site covering six plus acres and is located between the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness in the Heart of the Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site on the West Mainland of Orkney.
Excavations at the site began in 2003. The site has provided evidence of housing, decorated stone slabs, a massive stone wall with foundations, and a large building described as a Neolithic "cathedral" or "palace". The site may have been occupied from as early as 3500B.C. to the close of the Neolithic period more than a millennium and a half later.
According to many archaeologists, the discoveries are unparalleled in British prehistory. According to Nick Card, the chief archaeologist at the site, the complexity of finds is changing the "whole vision of what the landscape was 5,000 years ago" and "it’s of a scale that almost relates to the classical period in the Mediterranean. Additionally, according to archaeologists in general, the site could be more important than Stonehenge.
Excavations have revealed several buildings, both ritual and domestic and the works suggest there are likely to be more in the vicinity. Pottery, cremated animal bones, stone tools and polished stone mace heads have also been discovered. Some of the stone slabs are decorated with geometrical lozenges typical of other Neolithic sites. There are the remains of a large stone wall -- the "Great Wall of Brodgar" -- that may have been 330 feet long and 13 feet or more wide. It appears to traverse the entire peninsula the site is on and may have been a symbolic barrier between the ritual landscape of the area and the mundane world around it. The temple-like structure, which was discovered in 2008, has walls 13 feet thick and the shape and size of the building are visible, with the walls still standing to a height of more three feet. The structure is 82 feet long and 66 feet wide. There is a cross-shaped inner sanctum and the building was surrounded by a paved outer passage.
For a current look at the discoveries and the ongoing work at this site, see the Ness of Brodgar Trust. In addition, the Ness of Brodgar Trust has published two pamphlets, The Ness of Brodgar and The Ness of Brodgar: Digging Deeper,
documenting the excavation work. In March of 2023, it was announced that digging at the site will cease after excavation work in 2024, and it will be covered to await excavation by future archaeologists. The focus of the future will shift to intensive post-excavation work. As reported, "...although on-site excavation is ending, research at the Ness of Brodgar continues. It is simply moving into a new and exciting phase of intensive work, with the focus on scientific analysis of all the recovered material - pottery, stone tools, bone and much more - found on site. This must be fully catalogued and examined by specialists. The results, along with those from the environmental samples, will help unpick the story of the people who built, used and ultimately abandoned the site in the centuries around 2500 B.C. The Ness of Brodgar excavations will be open to the public from July 5 to August 16, 2023, and...from July 3, 2024 until the end of August 2024, funding permitting." About the Ness of Brodgar
Ness of Brodgar TrustJourney to the Ness of Brodgar The Ness of Brodgar is located between the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness in the Heart of the Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site on the West Mainland of Orkney, Scotland.
Streetmap UK NGR HY303129.Visitors Information Visitors information for the the Ness of Brodgar may be found on the Ness of Brodgar Trust website. General tourist information for Orkney may be found on the Visit Orkney website. Additional Photos of the Ness of Brodgar Excavation from a 2007 Visit
Descriptive Sign at Ness of Brodgar Excavation Site in 2007Additional Photos of the Ness of Brodgar Excavation from a 2017 Visit
Sign at Entrance to Ness of Brodgar Excavation Site in 2017Additional Photos of the Ness of Brodgar Excavation from a 2022 Visit
Ness of Brodgar Welcome Sign, Ness of Brodgar Excavation Site, July 2022
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