Excavation at the Ring of Brodgar 2008

The Ring of Brodgar. (Sigurd Towrie)

The Ring of Brodgar is one of the largest Neolithic stone circles in Britain. Yet we know surprisingly little about it – in particular its age.

In 2008, for the first time in 35 years, archaeologists carried out excavations at the Ring, hoping to answer a number of long-standing questions. . .

The Ring stands on the Ness of Brodgar, a low-lying isthmus, separating the lochs of Harray and Stenness, centrally placed within the large natural bowl of western Mainland, Orkney.

As a ‘monument’ the Ring of Brodgar is not alone. Together with the Stones of Stenness, a much smaller stone circle set within an enclosing ditch, it forms part of a monumental group, which also includes Maeshowe and a number of standing stones.

In contrast to the Ring of Brodgar, however, virtually all the other monuments within this group have been examined by excavation, for instance Maeshowe in 1956 and the Stones of Stenness in 1976.

Although the results have been variable, especially with regard chronological sequences, these interventions have allowed detailed and inclusive interpretative accounts to be created. However, when it comes to the Ring of Brodgar very little is actually known about this amazing site – instead interpretation has been constructed on the basis of the characteristics of other sites.

For more details, and the excavation blog, click here.

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