Heart of Neolithic Orkney (1999)
Scotland -- Great Britain

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The group of Neolithic monuments on Orkney consists of a large chambered tomb (Maes Howe), two ceremonial stone circles (the Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar) and a settlement (Skara Brae), together with a number of unexcavated burial, ceremonial and settlement sites. 

The group constitutes a major prehistoric cultural landscape which gives a graphic depiction of life in this remote archipelago in the far north of Scotland some 5,000 years ago.  

Great Britain 2005. World Cultural Heritage. Heart of Neolithic Orkney.  

The monuments of Orkney, dating back to 3000-2000 BC, are outstanding testimony to the cultural achievements of the Neolithic peoples of northern Europe. 

The Orkney Islands is an archipelago of 70 islands off the north coast of Scotland. 

Orkney's most amazing feature is the number of prehistoric sites which can be found there. As well as Britains oldest standing houses - 5500 years old on the island of Papa Westray - Orkney has stone circles, burial mounds, brochs and best of all the 5000 year old village at Skara Brae, preserved under a sand dune until 1850, when a violent storm exposed it.

  • Map of Orkney Islands, and their location in relation to Scotland. 

Lying off the northern coast of Scotland, Orkney consists of a group of almost treeless, gently rolling islands separated from the mainland by the Pentland Firth. The islands lie between the North Sea to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and cover an area of 376 square miles. There are roughly 70 islands but only 17 are inhabited. 

Kirkwall, the county's main town, is on the largest island, The Mainland. The town is the site of the magnificent 12th century cathedral of St. Magnus and the ruins of the Bishop's and Earl's Palaces. The next largest islands are Hoy, Westray, Sanday, and Stronsay. 

Warm ocean currents give the islands the mild climate that makes them one of Scotland's most productive farming areas, with beef cattle being the main product. Fishing is also a highly significant industry but recently tourism has overtaken both it and farming in terms of earnings. 

The discovery of oil beneath the North Sea led to the construction of a pipeline terminal on Flotta, one of the islands that surround the sheltered harbour of Scapa Flow. A causeway links the southern islands of Burray and South Ronaldsay to the Mainland of Orkney. 

Remains of prehistoric origin are to be found in abundance. They include burial chambers and rings of standing stones as well as the Stone Age village of Skara Brae which has been designated a World Heritage Site. Viking raiders arrived from Norway 1200 years ago and colonized the islands but they came under Scottish rule in 1472 when, along with Shetland, they were ceded to Scotland in lieu of a wedding dowry." 

Source: 

Other World Heritage Sites in Great Britain (on this site). Inactive links are not described on postage stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, United Kingdom Section, for further information about the individual properties. 

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Revised 19 jul 2006  
Copyright 1999 Heindorffhus 
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