Day 7: 17 August 2019 ~ Ring of Brodgar
- Location: Ring of Brodgar, Orkney, Scotland
- Date Taken: 2019-08-17
- Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II
- Lens: Canon Zoom Lens EF-S 18-200 mm F/3-5.6 IS
- Exposure Program: Manual
- Image Quality: JPEG
- F-Stop: f/4
- Exposure Time: 1/1000 sec
- ISO Speed: ISO-320
- Focal Length: 18 mm
- Metering Mode: Center Weighted Average
The Ring of Brodgar is a Neolithic henge and stone circle in Mainland, Orkney, Scotland. It is the only major henge and stone circle in Britain which is an almost perfect circle. Most henges do not contain stone circles; Brodgar is a striking exception. The ring of stones stands on a small isthmus between the Lochs of Stenness and Harray. There are no obvious stones inside the circle, but since the interior of the circle has never been excavated by archaeologists, the possibility remains that wooden structures, for example, may have been present. The site has resisted attempts at scientific dating and the monument’s age remains uncertain. It is generally thought to have been erected between 2500 BC and 2000 BC, and was, therefore, the last of the great Neolithic monuments built on the Ness.
A project called The Ring of Brodgar Excavation 2008 was undertaken in the summer of that year in an attempt to settle the age issue and help answer other questions about a site that remains relatively poorly understood. The results of the excavation are still preliminary.
The stone circle is 104 meters in diameter, and the third largest in the British Isles. The ring originally comprised up to 60 stones, of which only 27 remained standing at the end of the 20th century. The tallest stones stand at the south and west of the ring, including the “Comet Stone” to the south-east. The stones are set within a circular ditch up to 3 meters deep, 9 meters wide and 380 meters in circumference that was carved out of the solid sandstone bedrock by the ancient residents. Technically, this ditch does not constitute a true henge as there is no sign of an encircling bank of earth and rock. Many archaeologists continue to refer to this structure as a henge; for example, Aubrey Burl classifies the ditch as a Class II henge; one that has two opposing entrances, in this case on the north-west and south-east.
The ditch appears to have been created in sections, possibly by workforces from different parts of Orkney. The stones may have been a later addition, maybe erected over a long period of time.
Examination of the immediate environs reveals a concentration of ancient sites, making a significant ritual landscape. Within 5.2 km2 there are the two circle-henges, four chambered tombs, groups of standing stones, single stones, barrows, cairns, and mounds. The immediate area has also yielded a number of flint arrowheads and broken stone mace-heads that seem to date from the Bronze Age. Although its exact purpose is not known, the proximity of the Standing Stones of Stenness and its Maeshowe tomb make the Ring of Brodgar a site of major importance. The site is a scheduled monument and has been recognized as part of the “Heart of Neolithic Orkney” World Heritage Site in 1999.
Thank you very much for taking the time to join me on my travels through Scotland one Photo at a time. I hope you enjoyed it just as much as I did.
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Till next time, safe travels and keep dreaming.
Have a fabulous day.