Rare Chance To See Neolithic Site At Links Of Noltland, Orkney

By Caroline Lewis | 26 October 2007
photo of a coastline with a neolithic barrows and stone tombs

Similar to the settlement at the Links of Noltland, Orkney's Skara Brae is open to the public on a regular basis. © Historic Scotland

After its Neolithic and Bronze Age inhabitants moved out, the prehistoric village of the Links of Noltland lay untouched until 1978, when the Orkney site was first excavated. The archaeological remains were then reburied under sand dunes, to be inhabited only by burrowing rabbits, their closest neighbours a colony of seals on the beach.

Now visitors are being invited to Noltland, on the island of Westray, to take a rare tour of the buildings, which have undergone an emergency excavation after being exposed by strong winds.

The open days, on the weekend of November 3 and 4 2007, will reveal a large, two-roomed subterranean building whose walls survives to head height, dating to Neolithic times, and the remains of later Bronze Age buildings currently being excavated to salvage important remnants.

“This is an extremely rare opportunity for people to view these unique Neolithic and Bronze Age settlement remains which are of the greatest importance to understanding this period of history in Orkney,” said Peter Yeoman, Senior Archaeologist at Historic Scotland.

Archaeologists will give free guided tours of the fascinating site during the weekend, which is much larger than the better known prehistoric settlement at Skara Brae. Artefacts including bone tools and steatite (soapstone) vessel sherds will also be on show.

“Links of Noltland is a truly fascinating site set within an awe-inspiring landscape. We look forward to welcoming people on this day,” said Peter.

The open days run from 10am to 3pm; booking is not necessary and the event is free of charge. The Links are on the west coast of Westray, behind Grobust Bay. Orkney Ferries run from Kirkwall, tel: 01856 872044, email: info@orkneyferries.co.uk.

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