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2020 was an interesting year, to say the least, and with a term that is definitely more generous than it deserves. I managed to surpass my reading goal this year. I didn’t manage to hit any of my other goals, especially when it comes to my writing, but I’ll take my wins where I can get them.
The Ring of Brodgar is a Neolithic henge and stone circle monument that is located on a thin peninsula known as the Ness of Brodgar. A bridge or causeway has been located in this area for at least the last 1,000 years. Brodgar comes from the name of a farm that is situated near the causeway, which is itself a combination of the Old Norse words for bridge (brúar) and farm (garðr).
The Barnhouse Settlement, a prehistoric village similar to Skara Brae, can be found a short distance north of the Stones of Stenness. Barnhouse was occupied for 300 years from around 3100-2800 BCE.
The Stones of Stenness are a Neolithic monument that contains both a henge, possibly the oldest in all of Britain and Ireland, and a stone circle. Stenness, pronounced “Stane-is” in the Orcadian dialect, comes from the Old Norse Stein-nes, which means “stone headland.”
Skara Brae is only one of a remarkable collection of Neolithic sites that can be seen while touring the Orkney Islands of Scotland. During our brief visit to the Mainland of Orkney, we had the opportunity to visit four other incredible prehistoric monuments: the Stones of Stenness; the Barnhouse Settlement; the Ring of Brodgar; as well as the Maeshowe chambered cairn and passage grave.
For centuries, the western coastline of Mainland, Orkney held a secret. It had been enveloped first by layers of sand, and then covered by grass. The secret slept contentedly for a long time, resting a comfortable distance away from the rolling tides of the North Atlantic Ocean.
It was during my research for our 2016 trip to the U.K. that I first learned about and became fascinated with Orkney, an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland that contains a group of more than 60 islands. The Orkney Islands have a long and rich history. Remarkably, this history is accompanied by an incredible collection of exceptionally preserved archaeological sites, some of which are more than 5,000 years old!