Ring of Brodgar Stone Circle, Orkney, Scotland



Ring of Brodgar Neolithic stone circle photos




The History of the Ring of Brodgar

Museopics the free museum History


The Ring of Brodgar (circa 2,500 to 2,000 BC) is a Neolithic Age henge and stone ring circle, the third largest and most northern in the British Isles. It is situated on a spit of moorland that runs between two inland lochs at Stenness in the heart of Orkney. The lochs were not there when the stone ring was built and it is estimated that the sea broke through at a gap in Brig o' Waithe in Stenness in about 1500BC, 500-1000 years before the Ring of Brodgar was made.


This site was a major focal point for the islands Neolithic inhabitants and the Ring of Brodgar is part of an ensemble of Neolithic Age monuments that are close by. Within 2 square miles (5.2 km2) there are the two circle hedges, four chambered tombs, groups of standing stones, single stones, barrows, cairns, and mounds. The standing stones of Stenness is nearby across a narrow spit of land that crosses the lakes. Next to the Ring of Brodgar is a new archaeological site that promises to reveal more accurately the purpose of the stone ring. The incredible burial chamber at Maes Howe is not far from the Ring of Brodgar and the countryside around is littered with other Neolithic burial chambers. So this part of Orkney was the centre of great activity in Neolithic times and the expenditure of time and labour on the sites indicate the great importance they held for the islands ancient occupants.


The Ring of Brodgar Prehistoric Neolithic Age Stone Ring

The Ring of Brodgar is a true circular henge ( a circular ditch with a bank). its diameter is diameter of 103.6 metres (340 ft), and the ditch is the most incredible part of the Ring of Brodgar. Today the ditch is covered with heather which disguises the fact that it was cut out of the underlying sandstone rock. It was dug 3 metres (9.8 ft) deep and 9 metres (30 ft) wide and is 380 metres (1,250 ft) long. The man hours to make such a large henge would have been incredible, and the organisation to do so and make such an accurate circle indicates the sophistication of the Neolithic population of Orkney.


Most henges do not have stone circles inside them, the famous exceptions being Stonehenge, Avebury and the Ring of Brodgar. Inside the henge were 60 megalith standing stones of which 29 remain today. The centre of the stone ring has not been excavated yet so little is know of its contents.


The stone megaliths are not huge and come from different parts of the island. Because of the diverse geology of Orkney, geologists have been able to work out exactly where each of the stones originated from. This had led to speculation that each stone may represent different Neolithic clans that lived on Orkney, and that the Ring of Brodgar may have had some communal use and significance. The cults of Neolithic age ancestor worship are slowly being pieced together but until the centre of the Ring is excavated there is no evidence of this at the Ring of Brodgar.


The Ring of Brodgar Prehistoric Neolithic Age Stone Ring

4000 years ago the climate of Orkney was a lot warmer than today. The Island could support a large community who lived off fish and shellfish and burnt peat from the inland moors of Orkney. The everyday dwellings of these Neolithic people can be seen at the incredibly well preserved Neolithic village of Skara Brae. Orkney was able to support a large community who lived on the island full time so and lived easy enough to have spare time to work on the great Neolithic monuments of the island.


The purpose of the Ring of Brodgar will probably never be fully known na it has always been assumed that the great Neolithic rings were centre of some sort of religious ritual. New excavation on Orkney are promising to unravel the meaning of these great Neolithic age stone rings that spread across northern Europe.


The Ring of Brodgar is an enigmatic site which links us back to our neolithic ancestors. It is incredible that it has survived the ravages of the last 4000 years to give us a glimpse of a lost neolithic civilisation that once thrived on Orkney.


The Ring of Brodgar has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.




Where Is The Ring of Brodgar?

 

Museopics the free museum History

 

Coordinates: 59.0020°N 3.2287°W

Coordinates: 59.002, -3.2287

 

 

Neolithic Orkney Documentary

Museopics the free museum online museum Photo Video links

 

 

 

 

 

 


Related MuseoPics Pages

Museopics the free museum online museum Photo Gallery links

 

Museopics the free online historical Avebury stone ring images & resources Museopics the free online historical Carreg Coetan Quoit images & resources Museopics the free online historical Carreg Samson Quoit images & resources Museopics the free online historical Chun Quoit images & resources Museopics the free online historical Lanyon Quoit images & resources Museopics the free online historical Men-An-Tol images & resources Museopics the free online historical Pentre Ifan images & resources Museopics the free online historical Ring of Brodgar images & resources Museopics the free online historical Skara Brae images & resources Museopics the free online historical Stonehenge images & resources Museopics the free online historical St Lythans Quoit images & resources Museopics the free online historical Tauz Pre Historic rock carvings Images & resources Museopics the free online historical UNESCO Pre Historic Sites images & resources