An archaeological site in Scotland reveals a thousand years of history and puts the European Neolithic cultures in a different light.
The religious center of 5,000 years old was discovered by chance in the early 2000s, when a family from Orkney, an archipelago of 70 islands on the north coast of Scotland, wanted to change the landscape seen from the kitchen, planting poppy seeds.
Using a plug they stumbled upon an interesting piece of stone. Showing it to the archaeologist Julie Gibson, she initially thought it was a Bronze Age tomb.
This discovery implied that there may be human remains hidden underground, so the archeologists dug where the stone was found, but instead of discovering Bronze Age bones, they discovered a Neolithic-era wall.
Ten years later, instead of the poppy field now lays an archeological site of six hectares, the size of three football fields.
The team led by Nick Card from the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology has initiated excavations campaigns that lasted six weeks each summer, discovering, using carbon dating, that there was a continuity of a thousand years of this settlement, starting 3000 BC.
So far, archaeologists have focused on smaller portions of the site, as Card says: ‘I have only seen the tip of the iceberg’. With the increase in depth, the team could observe changes in style and architecture, a pattern that reflects the social and cultural changes over time.
The so-called ‘Neolithic revolution’ took place in the British Isles almost 6,000 years ago. Gradually, people began to gather in small settlements, starting a sedentary lifestyle.