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Neolithic Cathedral in Orkney

Neolithic Cathedral in Orkney

Some of you may not know that I have a degree in Archaeology even though I now work in the computer world.  I came across this story on the Pagans for Archaeology blog and was hooked.  The archaeology of Neolithic Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany has always fascinated me.  Particularly when looked at through the lens of “civilization” spreading from the Middle East cradle of Sumeria out and up to the “barbarians” of Northern Europe.  Neolithic Archaeology fly’s directly in the face of this theory and appeals to the Celtic Pagan in me.  You see, the earliest and most impressive examples of large tomb, village, and stone circle construction are found in the northernmost areas of Scotland (appealing to the Scot in me as well) not in southern Britain as one might expect.  It also meshes nicely with the ancient tales of the Tuatha Dé Dannan who are said to have come from a group of four islands “in the north”.

This new find adds to the already impressive array of famous Neolithic sites in the Orkney’s, like Skara Brae, the Standing Stones of Stenness, and the Ring of Brodgar.  The sites being so impressive as to have made it a World Heritage Site through UNESCO.  Evidently, this new find, dubbed the “Ness of Brodgar” dwarfs them all:

Measuring 25 metres (82 feet) long by 20 metres (65 feet) wide, the five-metre-thick outer walls remain to a height of approximately one metre (three feet). It is an oft-used phrase, but Structure Ten is truly like nothing found in Orkney, and perhaps Britain, before.

The site looks to have religious and ritual usage written all over it.  Of course, when archaeologists can’t ind an explanation for a site they often scratch their heads and say, “Hmm, must be for ritual use.”  But I think the case of religious use here, is beyond doubt.  The sites stonework is said to be immaculate and visually stunning on the outside, but rather shoddy on the inside.  This leads some to speculate that the interior was kept dark or barely lit, or was for a select number of religious initiates.  The Underworld associations of this site fascinate the Faery Seer in me to no end.  I look forward to seeing some artist mock-ups of what the structure would have looked like in it’s heyday.

Click here for more details on the site.