Artist's conception of a section of the Ness of Brodgar.
A 5000-year-old temple in Orkney, at the northern tip of Britain, could be more important than Stonehenge, some archaeologists are saying. Known as the Ness of Brodgar, it may replace Stonehenge as the center of Neolithic culture.
So far, the remains of 14 Stone Age buildings have been excavated, but thermal geophysics technology has revealed that there are 100 altogether, forming a kind of temple precinct. The site also contains Britain’s earliest known wall paintings.
“The excavation of a vast network of buildings on Orkney is allowing us to recreate an entire Stone Age world,” according to Neil Oliver. “It’s opening a window onto the mysteries of Neolithic religion.”
Experts believe that the site will give us insights into what Neolithic people believed about the world and the universe.
Some parts of the temple are 800 years older than Stonehenge, which lies 500 miles to the south in Wiltshire. The site is very close to the Ring of Brodgar stone circle and the standing stones of Stenness, and is surrounded by a wall believed to have been 10-feet high.
Archaeologists found red zigzag lines on some of the buildings’ inner walls that they believe is Stone Age art – the oldest ever found. So far only around 10 per cent of the site has been examined – and it could take decades to uncover and analyse everything there.