Ness of Brodgar in the spotlight at the Orkney Museum

Ness of Brodgar Aerial View (Picture: Sigurd Towrie)

Next Saturday, May 5, sees the opening of the new summer exhibition at the Orkney Museum, Tankerness House, Kirkwall.

Ness of Brodgar: The Heart of Neolithic Orkney is a chance to find out more about the archaeological site that everyone it talking about.

The Orkney Museum has worked closely with the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology (ORCA), which is part of Orkney College University of Highlands and Islands, so that the text is the most up-to-date record of what has been found so far and how it might have been used.

Not only is the story told in text and photographs, but the visitor will be able to see a large collection of artefacts that have been found during the excavation.

With so many unique finds on display, the exhibition aims to give visitors a glimpse of life in the Neolithic, some 5,000 years ago. There are ceremonial maceheads, polished stone axes, flints, pottery and a large collection of Neolithic art.

The Orkney Museum’s exhibitions officer, Tom Muir, said: “The timing of this exhibition is very fortuitous, as it was decided that we should create the exhibition before it was known that Neil Oliver was going to feature the site on the BBC’s A History of Ancient Britain special.

“Since its broadcast, interest in the site has rocketed and rightly so. Ness of Brodgar is a site that completely rewrites all the books on the British Neolithic – it’s a case of tearing them up and starting again, in many respects.

“The concept that Orkney was a centre for Neolithic religion and innovation which then spread out over the rest of Britain is revolutionary and flies in the face of modern perceptions.

“People use terms like ‘remote’ when referring to Orkney these days because they think that it is out there on the fringes of Britain, but here we see that this was certainly not the case in the Neolithic.

“Setting that aside, we find that people were capable of building slate roofs 5,000 years ago and that they painted their walls and pottery. These are incredible and amazing discoveries and with the prospect of more to come.”

Nick Card, the director of the excavation, said: “The exhibition will allow the excavations to be shared with an even wider audience and, for those who can’t make it along to our guided tours, it will give them a flavour of the wonderful discoveries being made at the Ness.”

  • Ness of Brodgar: The Heart of Neolithic Orkney is on show from the 5th May – 29th September. The Orkney Museum is open Monday – Saturday, 10.30 – 5.00. Admission is free.