Skip to comments.'Discovery of a lifetime': Stone Age temple found in Orkney is 800 years older than Stonehenge...
Posted on 01/04/2012 6:00:46 PM PST by SunkenCiv
The site, known as the Ness of Brodgar, was investigated by BBC2 documentary A History of Ancient Britain, with presenter Neil Oliver describing it as 'the discovery of a lifetime'.
So far the remains of 14 Stone Age buildings have been excavated, but thermal geophysics technology has revealed that there are 100 altogether, forming a kind of temple precinct.
Until now Stonehenge was considered to have been the centre of Neolithic culture, but that title may now go to the Orkney site, which contains Britain's earliest known wall paintings.
Oliver said: 'The excavation of a vast network of buildings on Orkney is allowing us to recreate an entire Stone Age world.
'It's opening a window onto the mysteries of Neolithic religion.'
Experts believe that the site will give us insights into what Neolithic people believed about the world and the universe.
Nick Card, an archaeologist from the University of the Highlands and Islands, said: 'It's an archaeologist's dream site. The excitement of the site never fades.
'This site is a one-off.'
Professor Mark Edmonds from the University of York, meanwhile, describes the excavation as 'a site of international importance'.
Some parts of the temple are 800 years older than Stonehenge, which lies 500 miles to the south in Wiltshire.
The site is very close to the Ring of Brodgar stone circle and the standing stones of Stenness and is surrounded by a wall believed to have been 10-feet high.
Archaeologists found red zigzag lines on some of the buildings' inner walls that they believe is Stone Age art -- the oldest ever found.
So far only around 10 per cent of the site has been examined -- and it could take decades to uncover and analyse everything there.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
'More important than Stonehenge': The temple precinct being uncovered in Orkney contains 100 Stone Age buildings
Big draw: Britain's earliest examples of artwork have been found on the walls at the Orkney site
In before 3G ping.
The site in Orkney is surrounded by other Neolithic remains
Golden oldie: The megalithic archaeological stone circle called The Ring of Brodgar is nearby
|GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach|
I have very slow electrons here.
In before the Helen Thomas reference.
“Can I raise a practical question at this point? Are we gonna do ‘Stonehenge’ tomorrow?”
Good report. Thanks, SunkenCiv.
Just downloaded a recent program regarding this discovery from a UK torrent site. Haven’t watched it yet, but I’m sure it will be interesting.
I think Helen Thomas is 800 years older than Stonehenge.
‘This site is a one-off.’
Yeah, it's like a record store, dude...
That is a really CRAPPY climate up there...kudos to those guys for surviving - 5000 years ago.
Yeah, just kill me now. (My electrons are slower than yours.)
I sailed around the Isle of Mull with my British cousins, a number of years ago, and visited a number of the smaller islands. It was pretty cold and rainy, but very beautiful. I must say, I think the Orkneys are a bit far north for my liking.
So am I correct these are people who predated the Celtic waves into the British Isles?
Were they Picts?
Or wideranging North Germanics straying from Norway, etc.?
Or something else?
At the same time Lake Erie was substantially larger than it is now and reached over into Western Indiana. It drained off 4,000 years ago (as the Niagara River dug into the Niagara Escarpment).
The Sahara was settling into desert conditions, as was Arabia, and Egypt was rising along the banks of the Nile. Still, the Great Western Depression was also a lake ~ it dried up after Roman times.
Why are they always jumping to the conclusion that these places like stone henge are temples? They look like forts to me.
This was simply a settlement created by the descendants of people who'd holed up in the Western Refugia South of the Pyranees in Spain.
In fact, at this time the people who became the Celts were still pretty much on the Continent and hadn't reached Britain, but there were already people there. The Germans do not achieve a separate identity until they rebel against their Celtic overlords along the Danube. That's about 1000 BC.
Here's something for you to keep in mind. Ancient peoples can be identified by culture (pots, designs, etc.), DNA (taken from bone fragments), or language.
You get back a few thousand years everybody is a stone ager ~ or Paleolithic hunter/gatherer who makes his arrowheads and other stone tools in a certain pattern.
Then a little further toward our time they are making baskets and pottery that manage to leave behind impressions or shards. Again, that's culture.
Finally, we come to the age of writing ~ which starts in Sumer and spreads rapidly ~ and that gives us history and language.
This village in the Orkneys is pretty old ~ but not as old as some in Ukraine where people settled who'd been protected from the ice in yet another refugia.
There are places even older than those in the Middle East.
What is exciting here is that civilization in Britain appears to have been an indigenous product and wasn't shipped in by foreigners.
Maybe they grouped up in the coldest months to conserve resources.
I’ve heard the term “beaker folk”...is that what these people were?
There is a medieval Icelandic saga about the earls of Orkney, available in English translation (the Orkneyinga Saga)--it was Norse for much of the Middle Ages.
I think this is just pre-bronze age ~ but I’d have to see some expert identify the culture.
We visited Fingal’s Cave, and the Monastery on Iona from which much of Europe was Christianized. We were there at the vernal equinox, and the sun went below the horizon for about half an hour, but it never really got dark.
Evey time I hear that I want to truck over there with a sledge hammer and spray paint.
I've seen 50/50 estimates for the highlanders and the non-Sami Norwegians called "Norse".
However, just about 100% of their ancestors came from the Westernmost Ice Age Refugia ~ whether they are Sa'ami, Norse, Celt, or whatever.
You find a slightly different population in Southern Europe, and there's a third group mixed in in Eastern Europe but pretty much the same folks descended from the same folks in the Refugia.
As you move East you start running into populations that left the Refugia and traveled North and went South of the residual ice cap in Scandinavia. They moved East and then South. The Sa'ami differ by going North of the residual ice all the way around the Arctic coast into the Kola peninsula. They also went to America, North Africa, and even tropical Africa. Yet others penetrated all the way to East Asia (the Yakuts have the X factor genes)
The Japanese ruling caste since 600 AD or thereabouts are descended from Yakuts invaders who arrived on the heels of the climate anomaly that shut down China's civilization for the next 300 years.
The Orkneys are different. The native population AFTER the Sa'ami moved through there going North about 12500 BC, but BEFORE the Norse arrived in 1 AD from wherever primitive Germans came from seems to be unrelated to both groups until the arrival of Vikings in about 800 or 900 AD.
That doesn't mean THAT group didn't spread its genes around among the others.
I don't think they've done enough DNA research on the problem to give us all the answers needed ~ first, they've gotta' find the Orkney Islanders. They've been moving out of there in recent decades.
:’) That was the approach recommended by the Red Queen.
I have had the same thought many times. Life was undoubtedly tough and most of their energy was probably spent on practical matters.
Scotland's latitudes are roughly equivalent to the Alaska panhandle's.
What I remember from a course I took as an undergraduate is that they believe that the Norse colonizers of Iceland brought along their Celtic slave women. That would explain the DNA, and the fact that the language of Iceland is descended from Old Norse (not Gaelic).
Cabeza de Vaca mentions an Indian tribe in Texas which killed all of its girl babies at birth, and acquired wives from other tribes.
Watch the film Teenage Caveman
The temp of that island may have been quite different then. Greenland used to be green. I am sure Orkney was warm once. They may have lived on a warmer Orkney than what we know today.
I had an acquaintance who was from the Faroes, which was settled by the Norse, they considered themselves part Irish due to the Irish women the Norse brought with them. The silent ancient history of women in this world is a tale that is yet to be told through genetics.
It was warmer 8000 years ago than it is today.
Great Thread! Thanks!
Wow. Thanks for these continued postings, Civ. I would love nothing more than to be able to retire...and spend the rest of my days as a volunteer, digging in the dirt on a site like this.
How about sea level in the area. Was it lower making the islands larger?
Hey, it's a new opportunity for archeologists to make stuff up.
In the Penguin translation, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, Chronicle of the Narvaez Expedition, this is mentioned in chapter 18.
See also Paul Schneider, Brutal Voyage: Cabeza de Vaca and the Epic First Crossing of North America (2007).
These people were far more advanced than we realized. They may not have had advanced weapons, but apperantly they had barbershops, shavers and strapless bras.
Thanks SueRae, my pleasure. It’s easy to find and sign up for something like that — it’s hard work, and you actually have to pay your own way (cost is like taking a cruise, or a tour of famous sites somewhere like Egypt), but that’s the way some of these digs get done at all, due to lack of funding. I always enjoy the stupidity of people who think archaeologists get wealthy off grants.
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