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14 October 2018
Exciting new finds at Orkney World Heritage site

The Ness of Brodgar is a 2.5 hectare site on the island of Stromness in Orkney, north of mainland Scotland. It lies within a greater area, known as the Orkney World Heritage Site. Excavations started in 2003 and it features in the top five favourites of TV historian Neil Oliver, in his series "The Story of the British Isles in 100 places".
     The excavations in 2018 are quite extensive with over 160 active diggers. They are being run by the Ness of Brodgar Trust, in conjunction with the Archaeological Institute of the University of the Highlands (UHI). They are particularly excited about the discovery of several polished stone axes, made from Gneiss stone, which has a sheet like planar structure.  Activity on the site covered the period from 3,2000 BCE until 2,300 BCE and to date over 14 massive stone structures have been uncovered.
     The largest axe found so far had a damaged cutting edge which lead Site Director Nick Card to remark "It is nice to find pristine examples of stone axes but the damage on this one tells us a little bit more about the history of this particular axe. The fact that the cutting edge has been heavily damaged suggests that it was a working tool rather than a ceremonial object. We know that the buildings in the complex were roofed by stone slabs so this axe was perhaps used to cut and fashion the timber joists that held up the heavy roof".

Edited from BBC News (8 August 2018)

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