Category: Ancient Sacred Sites

The Shifting Stones of Stonehenge…

Not to be outdone by the recent discoveries on Orkney, Stonehenge – one of the world’s most famous stone circles – has thrown up a whole new story about its origins… and its original face. (1100 words, a ten-minute read) It was the end of the archeology ‘dig season’ of 2018. Strong winds and heavy rain had blown for weeks across the exposed face … Read More The Shifting Stones of Stonehenge…

The City and the Stars – revisited – Britain’s oldest stone circle…

New evidence from the past two years’ work on Orkney has revealed breathtaking perspectives on the nature and importance of the finds at the Ness of Brodgar… (1000 words, a ten-minute read) (Above: technical reconstruction of Structure 10 and its dramatic ‘pyramid’ roof on the Ness of Brodgar by Kenny Arne Lang Antonsen and Jimmy John Antonsen) Staring, breathless, at the TV, desperately trying … Read More The City and the Stars – revisited – Britain’s oldest stone circle…

The City and the Stars (9-end) : the most peaceful place in the world

The conclusion of the Silent Eye’s extended workshop to Orkney. A visit to the neighbouring island of Rousay. A sad disappointment and a wonderful surprise. (1500 words, a twelve-minute read) (Above: a modern reconstruction of a Neolithic farmer felling a tree with a hand-made stone axe) For our final day, we were off to the Island of Rousay.. I’ve written, elsewhere, about what it’s … Read More The City and the Stars (9-end) : the most peaceful place in the world

The City and the Stars (8) : Longships

The traditional picture of the Vikings – looting, marauding, raping invaders – may not be entirely true of their time on Orkney, though they did rule this gentle archipelago with an iron fist for five hundred years… (1300 words, a ten-minute read) (Above: the glory of St Magnus (Viking) Cathedral, Kirkwall) History can be complex. Patterns of events that fit in one situation may … Read More The City and the Stars (8) : Longships

The City and the Stars (7) : the Standing Stones of Stenness

The Standing Stones of Stenness are reduced in importance compared with their former status. But 5,000 years ago, they were the stone circle for the Ness of Brodgar spiritual city. Only later, in the period culminating in the deliberate act of self-destruction of the Ness of Brodgar structures, were these stones eclipsed as the ‘guide to the heavens’… (1300 words, a twelve-minute read) The … Read More The City and the Stars (7) : the Standing Stones of Stenness

The City and the Stars (6) : the twice-chosen

To build something so sophisticated, so designed, as the Maeshowe Chambered ‘tomb’, would have required enormous dedication from the people of Orkney. Seen alongside the emerging splendour of the Ness of Brodgar ‘spiritual city’, you get a flavour of the total commitment of these ancient people to their task… (1500 words, a ten-minute read) (Above: The long passageway that leads into and out of … Read More The City and the Stars (6) : the twice-chosen

The City and the Stars (5) : ‘Structure 10’ Pyramid

The more the Orkney archeologists uncover, the more it is certain that the settlement on the Ness of Brodgar was the hub of a dynamically influential and spiritual society, 5000 years ago… For example, what’s this pyramid…. yes, that’s right, pyramid? (1700 words, a fifteen-minute read) (Above: Illustration of Structure 10 by Kenny Arne Lang Antonsen and Jimmy John Antonsen) That can’t be right, … Read More The City and the Stars (5) : ‘Structure 10’ Pyramid

The City and the Stars (4) : The Ring of Brodgar

You look at the landscape around you… This magnificent place, where the natural features are as spectacular as the Neolithic discoveries, lies between two lochs surrounded by a natural amphitheatre. You are encircled on all sides by the hills and the monuments that make up the heart of Orkney’s Neolithic World Heritage Site. Welcome to the Ring of Brodgar, in the valley of the … Read More The City and the Stars (4) : The Ring of Brodgar

The City and the Stars (3) : The City on the Ness

A ten-minute journey from Stromness, on Orkney, lies an ‘isthmus’ which recent excavations have shown to contain one of the richest archeological concentrations in the world… It is nothing less than an ancient spiritual city, lost to time until the early years of this century. (1200 words, a ten-minute read) An ‘isthmus’ is defined as ‘a narrow strip of land with sea on either … Read More The City and the Stars (3) : The City on the Ness

The City and the Stars (2) : The Houses of Skara Brae

Skara Brae’s modern story began in 1850 when a violent sea-storm tore off the layers of grass, sand and soil that had covered what appeared to be two ancient and completely intact Neolithic houses. For 4,000 years, they had been lost to history, having been mysteriously abandoned. (1000 words, a ten-minute read) The local landowner at the time was William Watt, who lived at … Read More The City and the Stars (2) : The Houses of Skara Brae

The City and the Stars (1)

With the Pictish Trail weekend a long car journey and a boat ride behind us, we had awakened in Stromness to the early morning of an overcast Orkney day – The excavated and intact Neolithic village of Skara Brae was a few short miles away… (1300 words, a ten-minute read) We had not expected to be here at all. Visiting Orkney for the second … Read More The City and the Stars (1)

Two journeys, one destination (9) : Dunrobin Castle

The beautiful vision of the ‘fairytale’ Dunrobin Castle, seen here from across the bay during our visit to Portmahomack, had tantalised us with the reported splendour of its architecture and gardens. Now, we had arrived at the gateway of its estate. (1800 words, a twelve minute read) (Above: Dunrobin Castle through a long lens…) Dunrobin Castle is the most northerly of Scotland’s great houses … Read More Two journeys, one destination (9) : Dunrobin Castle

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