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  Orkney's World Heritage Site

As 1999 drew to a close, Orkney's archaeology continued to be at the forefront of local, national and international news.

In early December 1999, it was confirmed that the Heart of Neolithic Orkney - the area of the West Mainland surrounding the Ring of Brodgar - had been added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

At the time, the long-awaited proclamation made the area one of 700 sites across the world, and one of only three Scottish sites to gain this global recognition.

In one day, some of Orkney's best known archaeological treasures were placed on a par with internationally-recognised monuments such as Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Egypt.

What is a World Heritage Site?

World Heritage Site LogoUNESCO's World Heritage list is specifically to identify and protect sites of "outstanding universal value," ensuring they are protected and appreciated for many years to come.

To become a World Heritage Site, the governments of the relevant country must submit an application to the World Heritage Committee. This 21-member committee then considers the site's merits, according to their own specific criteria. If the site is deemed worthy it is added to the global list.