lunes, 5 de agosto de 2013

Neolithic engraved stone discovered at the Ness of Brodgar (Scotland)

 
Throughout the excavations at the Ness of Brodgar on the Scottish island of Orkney, numerous examples of Neolithic “art” have been uncovered. In fact, by 2010 around 80 “decorated” items had emerged from the site and now it stands at 450 inscribed pieces.

Finer and more complex pieces of art

Now in Structure 10 – interpreted as a ritual building – a find has been made that has been described by site director Nick Card as “inspiring” and “one of the finest pieces of art from this period found at Ness of Brodgar, if not the United Kingdom.”
The engraved stone was found at the base of the later south-west internal corner buttresses and consists of two sides carved with intricate etched designs.
An initial examination has revealed a finely incised chevron design and small cup marks as well as a main design of interconnecting triangles which can be paralleled on a slab discovered at Skara Brae in the 1970s and a lightly inscribed stone from Maeshowe discovered by archaeologist, Patrick Ashmore in the 1980s. There are also some similar motifs on Irish passage-tombs, including Newgrange, Knowth, Fourknocks and Loughcrewthis.
However, these newly discovered engravings are finer and more complex pieces of art than the previous examples and highlights the importance of the Ness of Brodgar as a monumental site.
 
A site of international importance
 
Decoration on stones from Orkney from the Neolithic period is almost entirely angular and shares a commonality with the decoration found on Grooved Ware ceramics. In 2011 the first painted walls were discovered at the site along with a fragment of painted Grooved Ware pottery, suggesting that pre-history may have been much more colourful than we imagine it to be.
This new find only highlights the life of ritual and decoration that occupied the people of Orkney five millennia ago. Nick Card explained, ” the fine scratched lines and then deeply incised patterns suggest that it was the act of carving that was as important as the final design.”
“Until now, Skara Brae had the most recorded Neolithic art in the UK, with about 70 panels. But we have already discovered 450 here. A new piece of decorative art comes up every day. We now have the largest collection in the UK.” Nick said
Only a small part of the 4-5,000 year-old site which covers over 2.5 hectares has been excavated so far. It lies between the world famous sites of Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness, sitting in a landscape that suggests a powerful ritual draw to communities.
 

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