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Orkney .. more important than Stonehenge and the Pyramids?

8 October 2012

Long before the Egyptians thought of building pyramids a vast temple complex was built at the top of Scotland – in what is now the Ness of Brodgar in the Orkneys. See www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/oct/06/orkney-temple-centre-ancient-brit… or at www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/10/2012/neolithic-discovery-wh… (or www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/category/news … the size, complexity and sophistication of the temple complex have left archaeologists struggling to find superlatives. For decades it was thought to be a hill made of glacial moraine but it is entirely man-made and extends over 6 acres. The complex was once surrounded by two walls eacho over 100m in length and 4m in height – and the complex contained a dozen large temples (sounds a bit like a Mexican or Peruvian temple city). Painted ceramics, stone pavements, elegant pottery – it has it all. Purpose – unknown. Just ten per cent of the site has been excavated – what else awaits discovery? The headland of Brodgar appears to have been regarded as special – you are in an amphitheatre created by the hills surrounding it. They are low hill however and the view is dominated by the dome of the sky, a perfect setting for watching the rising and setting of the Sun, or the Moon, or any other celestial object. Alexander Thom thought the Ring of Brodgar was an observatory designed to study the movements of the Moon – are his ideas about to be rehabilitated? Around 2300BC, the date chosen by Moe Mandelkehr as the setting of a catastrophic event involving the Taurids (in various articles in SIS Review), the complex was abruptly abandoned. C14 dating of animal bones suggests a huge feast and ceremony took place, over 600 cattle were killed and eaten, and the site decommissioned (covered in soil and backfill). That is also somewhat like the ritual abandonment and burial of temple cities in the Americas).

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