History

“The Orkney Imagination is haunted by time”
George Mackay Brown

Photo montage Sigurd TowrieThe Orkney Islands have a long and colourful history. It is no exaggeration to say that the isles are a place where this history remains a part of everyday life.

For thousands of years, people have lived and worked in Orkney.

Every corner of the islands has its ancient monuments, most of them in a remarkable state of repair.

From the stone age Orcadians, who left a legacy of monuments that continue to inspire today, through to the vikings, who took the islands in the ninth century and made them the centre of a powerful Earldom and part of the kingdom of Norway, and beyond.

The Orkney islands are covered with monuments that stand as constant reminders of the events and people that have gone before.

Houses and funerary structures dating back 5,000 years share the landscape with Bronze Age cemeteries, standing stones, Iron Age brochs, viking ruins, medieval churches and Renaissance palaces.

Our history is therefore not something that exists only in schoolbooks or the musings of academics.

Orkney’s history and heritage is everywhere – an intricate tapestry of events stitched into the very fabric of the islands themselves. Orcadians have a connection with this history – events that were witnessed by their ancestors many generations ago.

The past is alive and remains part of everyday life, albeit unconsciously.