Thursday, 14 April 2011

Orkney's World Heritage Site

On 13th April, Class 7 went on a day trip to Ring of Brodgar, Skara Brae and Broch of Gurness. We wanted to find out more about Orkney’s ‘World Heritage’ site, ‘The Heart of Neolithic Orkney.’ The sites in Orkney received this honour because they are one of a kind and unique to Orkney. At Brodgar we found out about the possibilities of what the mysterious stone circle really was. The rangers Sandra and Elaine explained that nobody really knows what the ring was used for but a lot of the archaeologists who come to study Orkney’s Neolithic past think it may have been a memorial to those who died. The stones have been recognised as coming from the place they point to. We were told about the individual stones and what they meant. One of them had been struck by lightning on 5th of June 1980. This had caused it to split in two. The piece which broke off is still next to the original upright piece but on the ground. We played a game at the end to test of knowledge of the Ring of Brodgar and its surroundings.

The next place we visited was the famous Neolithic village of Skara Brae. Older than The Great Pyramids the village is 5100 years old. The houses are still complete with their stone furniture, but the items have been removed to preserve them for future generations. The houses all has a very similar layout. The fire was in the middle of the room and stone beds were placed at the sides. In the larger house stands a dresser where the people would have kept their treasured possessions. Unfortunately the village is vulnerable to coastal erosion and eventually the barricades will be undermined further until the sea causes damage to houses.
The next place we visited was the Broch of Gurness. This settlement was from the Iron Age. A large round house built of stone was roughly in the middle of the building and houses. We discovered tunnels and staircases throughout the building that guards would have used when the house was in use in 500BC, 2500 years ago. The large house was surrounded by houses a lot smaller than the main broch. The had mostly the same type of structure and layout as Skara Brae. We enjoyed running around and exploring the site together.


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