Artefacts and inspirations from the Ness of Brodgar
The Neolithic structures at the Ness of Brodgar are unique. They were in use for at least a millennium, from 3,500-2,500 BC, and perhaps a good deal longer. The size, quantity and quality of the buildings, and the rich assemblages of artefacts found in and around them, suggest that the site was not simply domestic. The Ness is built in a central position in the Orkney Islands and in the middle of its most imposing complex of monuments. This was a place of great importance to the Neolithic people who lived in more modest settlements scattered across Orkney. It was the heart of their world.
It was a place of meeting, of coming together for people from all over Orkney and likely from further afield. Whey? For feasting, trading, gossiping, performing rituals and for celebrating the important political and celestial events that defined society at that time.
All the main structures have yielded examples of decorated stone; there are now well over 800 of them. Some stones built into the walls of the structures were coloured with natural pigments of red, black and yellow. Artefacts include pottery (some with traces of pigment), polished stone axes and a carved stone ball.
It is these discoveries that have inspired present day artists and craftspeople to create their own works reflecting the art and crafts that were produced at the Ness of Brodgar around 5,000 years ago. Most are available to buy.
For more information visit www.nessofbrodgar.co.uk or buy a copy of the guidebook – all proceeds help to fund the excavations. From the 4th July to the 22nd August the site is open to the public – for more details see www.nessofbrodgar.co.uk/visit.
acrylic pencil and pastel on paper
50cm x 70cm
The drawing is of the excavations on the Ness as of 2013. This is one of a series done on site in July that year and worked on subsequently in the studio. (Proceeds generously donated to the Ness of Brodgar exhibition.)