Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday, August 28th, Kirkwall, Orkney Islands


Joined by Dave and Jane, Brian and Eileen, and Sophie and Odile, we were off today, led by Caz Marnwell of Orkney Archeaology Tours.   The group is full of interesting and traveled people, with whom we've shared four meals, two ferry rides, and four neolithic and iron age ruins.

On a warm, almost windless day, we drove from Kirkwall to the ferry at Tingwall, and sailed to the island of Rousay (population 300).  In the course of a day, we saw structures which spanned almost 3,000 years.  And the youngest of these was a thousand year old by the time of the earliest Mayan temple.  And what struck Pat most was the fact that these ruins are surrounded by only a few islanders, no facilities, hardly any signs, and certainly no other tourists.

Listening to Caz, displaying her passion for both the present islanders and those who lived here for the past five millenium, we were fascinated by how much these preserved stone tombs, cairns, and brochs could reveal to us.  And by how many questions they left unanswered.  Few other spots on earth contain such a long, continuous, record of occupation leaving such detailed fresh evidence to study.  Absent only greater organic materials, one can hardly imagine a more valuable documentary treasure of man's existence.

In the next five days, we'll accompany Caz on a journey across the hills, shores, and bays of Orkney Islands.  We'll see palaces, chapels, single and rings of stones, more tombs and cairns, more brochs and towers, and plenty of really, really, really old houses.  And we'll question and wonder how the people of this area lived and died in them.

To see the photos that were taken today, click on Sunday, August 28th.

No comments: