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11 August 2013
Neolithic engraved stone discovered in Scotland

Newly discovered engravings at the Ness of Brodgar on the Scottish island of Orkney are finer and more complex than previous examples of its Neolithic art.
     Described by site director Nick Card as "inspiring" and "one of the finest pieces of art from this period found at Ness of Brodgar, if not the United Kingdom," the engraved stone was found in Structure 10, and consists of two sides carved with intricate etched designs.
     Examination has revealed a finely incised chevron design and small cup marks, as well as a main design of interconnecting triangles.
     Decoration on stones from Orkney from the Neolithic period is almost entirely angular, and shares a commonality with the decoration found on Grooved Ware ceramics.
     This new find highlights the life of ritual and decoration that occupied the people of Orkney five millennia ago. Nick Card reveals that, "Until now, Skara Brae had the most recorded Neolithic art in the UK, with about 70 panels. But we have already discovered 450 here. A new piece of decorative art comes up every day. We now have the largest collection in the UK."
     Only a small part of the 2.5 hectare site has been excavated so far. It lies between the world famous sites of Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness.

Edited from Orkneyjar (31 July 2013), Past Horizons (1 August 2013)

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