Brodgar ‘cathedral’ in top 15 global discoveries of 2009

The Neolithic ‘cathedral’ — Structure 10, from the north. (ORCA)

The “Neolithic cathedral” unearthed on the Ness of Brodgar in the summer of 2009 has been placed in the Archaeological Institute of America’s top 15 “most significant discoveries of 2009”.

The Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology (ORCA) excavation, led by Nick Card, comes in at number 12 on the list, which also includes finds such as the tomb of a “lord of Úcupe”, in Peru, the Staffordshire Anglo Saxon hoard and the Palace of Mithradates, Kuban, Russia.

Going by the name of Structure Ten, the Brodgar building first came to light during the 2008 excavation on the Ness. Geophysics scans of the site had suggested there was something large under the turf but once digging began, the sheer scale became clear.

This year, the monumental proportions of the building were revealed — measuring 25 metres (82 feet) long by 20 metres (65 feet) wide, the five-metre-thick outer walls remain to a height of approximately one metre (three feet).

Outlining the find in their run down, the institute declared: “Card says it would have been constructed to ‘amaze’ and ‘awe’ those who saw it. Five millennia later, it still amazes.”

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