Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wednesday, August 31st, Kirkwall, Orkney Islands


Maes Howe is the fourth of the Orkney sites included in the Heart of the Neolithic Orkney World Heritage sites.  Built five hundred years before Stonehenge (3200BC), it is the largest neolithic chambered cairn and passage grave in Europe.  The grass mound hides a complex of passages and chambers built of carefully-crafted flagstone slabs, weighing up to 30 tons.

And though taking photos inside is prohibited,  decided that the inside is so important for others to see, I have chosen to include some from the internet.

After a long low stoop, the inner chamber and side depositories are easily navigated, and one can imagine their use as bone storage for a chosen few.  What's more easily imagined is the visits of viking warriors two thousand years later.  The stones contain the largest concentration of viking runic grafitti resulting from a couple of recorded winter occupations in the eleventh century.

The Stromness Museum nearby is hosting an early exhibit of some of the finds from the Ness of Brodgar, so we had to go visit.  We were also looking for the Skare Brae Buddo (right), the mascot of neolithic Orkney archaeology.

After lunch, we drove back to the Ayre Hotel (About time I gave them a plug), and walked over to the Orkney Museum to read some of the local newspaper reports of digs in the area, and look at more of the museum's collection.

To see all of the photos taken today, click on Wednesday, August 31st.

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