Back home again, safe and sound [if slightly jetlagged], but I’d like to continue my odyssey to Orkney here with a look at the amazing Ring of Brodgar…
My most recent post took a peek at the astonishing Neolithic village of Skara Brae. The people who lived in the settlement fished and hunted and even farmed a little, all with stone tools. But — when they weren’t making a daily living, just what else were they getting up to?
How about building this…
Those of you who follow my blog may recall my visit last year to Stonehenge and environs [Salisbury plains, Avebury and more]. Posts and pix, here, for review: http://kcdyer.blogspot.com/2009/05/stonehenge.html
The Ring of Brodgar is a very similar Neolithic site, this one a great deal further north, and I would hazard to say, perhaps less thoroughly understood. This shot is just a portion of the actual ring, which measures an almost perfect circle, 104 m in diameter. There are 27 remaining stones, though it is thought there were likely once 60. Due to the landform shaping underneath the stones, it too has been classified as a henge.
The stones themselves are somewhat smaller than those in Stonehenge, [and also smaller than the few remaining Stones of Stenness, about a mile away] but are still very beautiful. And it turns out that the diameter of the circle is identical to the diameter of the inner circle at Avebury. [http://kcdyer.blogspot.com/2009/05/avebury.html ]
Apparently, more than 1000 stone circles have been discovered in the British Isles and Western Europe. There have been stone circles identified in Israel and in China. I can’t help being fascinated by the idea that so many Neolithic societies, separated often by hundreds and thousands of miles, built such similar structures. I feel very priveleged to have been able to walk among the stones.
This stone was likely split by a lightning strike. Orkney is among the windiest places on earth, with the highest wind recorded being 137 mph [at which point, the recording instrument was blown into the North Sea]. I can imagine a storm here must be a truly awesome event.
There were two nearby barrows that I had a chance to explore, too — aligned with the ring in some way, and covered in beautiful blooming heather.
If you’d like, you can read more about the site HERE: http://www.orkneyjar.com/history/brodgar/
And now, I’m off to read contest entries for the Surrey International Writers’ Conference writing contest. The contest closed today, but you’ve still got time to register for the conference itself — find out more at www.siwc.ca