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29 August 2012
Third figurine found in Orcadian dig

A third hand-carved figurine has been unearthed during ongoing excavations at the Links of Noltland, Westray (Orkney, Scotland), cabinet secretary for culture and external affairs Fiona Hyslop announced last August 28th. Ms Hyslop, who was in Kirkwall with the rest of the Scottish cabinet, was able to see all three figurines together for the first time, ahead of all of them going on display at the Westray Heritage Centre.
     Archaeologists had previously unearthed two ancient figurines in 2009 and 2010 at the dig at Links of Noltland. Alasdair McVicar, chair of the Westray Heritage Trust, said: "The discovery of these figurines has really put Westray and the heritage centre on the map." Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "The level of artistry, workmanship and skill demonstrated by these and the other finds at Links of Noltland clearly shows that our ancestors of 5000 years ago were a cultured and intelligent community. It also allows us to speculate about what motivated and inspired them - were these used in ritual, what significance did they have and how common were they?"
     Since starting rescue excavations in 2007 to combat irreplaceable archaeological remains being lost to erosion, an extensive Neolithic and Bronze Age settlement and associated field systems has been found. The range of artefacts and style of buildings define Links of Noltland as Westray's 'Skara Brae'.
     From September 3rd visitors to Links of Noltland will be able to meet the team and see the ongoing dig between 10am and 4pm Monday to Friday.

Edited from Historic Scotland, BBC News, The Orcadian (28 August 2012)

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