Archeology Video X-Files

Britain’s Ancient Capital: 5,000-Year-Old Buildings On Orkney

Britain's Ancient Capital: 5,000-Year-Old Buildings On Orkney

You think of Britain, and the first city you picture is London – the cultural hub. But, what if you were told that almost 5,000 years ago the centre of innovation was a temple complex of Orkney! Indeed, this is the truth which is instigating the historians and archaeologist to write the history of the time of Britain once again.

What is so special about Orkney?

The heartland of the Neolithic North is Orkney. And, since years the archeologists have excavated the site trying to find out about the Stone Age. However, just recently the scientists stumbled upon the treasure trove of Neolithic era.

  • This is the Temple complex of the Ness of Brodgar.
  • It is a manmade place.
  • However, it covers almost 6 acres of land.
  • It inculcates more than a dozen temples.
  • Each of the temples is associated to the outhouses and kitchens with the aid of stone pavements.
  • It also has bones of sacrificed cattle, pottery which bespeaks elegance in crafting and pieces of painted ceramics.
Britain's Ancient Capital: 5,000-Year-Old Buildings On OrkneyAn overview of the main trench at the Ness of Brodgar - image by Hugo Anderson Whymark

What has been found?

    • The people, who were present in the Neolithic age, were the first farmers.
    • They arrived at Orkney almost 6,000 years ago.
    • They pursed land cultivation, made giant stone circles, and also the communal tombs.
    • It included the giant complex of buildings at the Ness of Brodgar.
    • It is still unknown that what the underlying or cultivating religious beliefs back then were.

The archeologists strongly feel, that many ideas spread from this place:

  1. The first grooved pottery
  2. The first hinges

Hence, Tom Muir of Orkney Museum is verbatim correct when he says- “The whole text book of British archaeology for this period will have to be torn up and rewritten from scratch thanks to this place,”

The place has been given the status of World Heritage site. This is the acumen; geophysical surveys were carried on here. The survey was pursued by utilization of magnetometers, ground penetrating radars and electromagnetic investigation.

Britain's Ancient Capital: 5,000-Year-Old Buildings On OrkneyThe Ness of Brodgar is an archaeological site in the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site in Orkney, Scotland. Excavations at the site began in 2003.

The following was the result:

  • It was assumed that the ridge was natural. However, the magnetometer showed that it was manmade. It inculcated features such as lines of walls, outlines of large buildings and concentric pathways. It implies that the site had provided shelter to many people.
  • Elaborate walls, carefully carved rocks and pieces of pottery were revealed. Each of these items showed them to be belonging to the Neolithic background.
  • Two walls, several meters high had been constructed across the ridge. This implied that no one could have crossed the Ness, without going from here.
  • Another interesting aspect is the hematite based pigments which have been used to paint the external walls.
Britain's Ancient Capital: 5,000-Year-Old Buildings On OrkneyOrkney Islands have been inhabited for at least 8500 years, originally occupied by Mesolithic and Neolithic tribes and then by the Picts.

Such magnificence and immense care, ensured Card to say- “When you stand here, you find yourself in a glorious landscape,” also that- “You are in the middle of a natural amphitheatre created by the hills around you.”

Equally speculative is the fate of the complex. Almost after 1000 years of fabrication of this complex it was suddenly abandoned. A huge feast wherein more than 6000 cattle were slaughtered marks the last ceremony here.

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  • “A huge feast wherein more than 6000 cattle were slaughtered marks the last ceremony here.”

    That is an extraordinary claim. How can you prove it?