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On Orkney

Below this post you'll see comments on politics and economics. They're important subjects - more important to our lives than we can yet see - but I have to admit feeling relieved that here we can go back in time to Orkney.

The Ring of Brodgar, the Standing Stones of Stenness and the green hill of Maeshowe stand close together.

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Maeshowe
Image: Visit Orkney

For a long time people saw the green hill without realizing that Maeshowe concealed a chambered cairn.

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Inside Maeshowe. Image: Odin Orkney

And there is more, recently uncovered.

On the Ness of Brodgar, between the Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar, archaeologist Nick Card has unearthed a 5,000-year-old complex, including the ruins of "an 82-foot-long, 65-foot-wide stone structure with 16-foot-thick walls enclosing a cross-shaped inner sanctum".

No one knows why the massive hall, nicknamed the "Neolithic Cathedral", was created. The discovery of cattle bones suggests there were feasts. Perhaps, just as many people today give thanks to God when they sit down to eat, those ancient people prayed, and the smoke and their prayers drifted through the roof hole and into the sky.

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Standing stone in the Ring of Brodgar - as if waiting for someone to return.
Image: © David Woods

How did they come to be in Orkney? Why did they build here? How many of them lifted those massive stones into place? How long did they stay and where did they go?

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