23/11/2017
Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

New stage of conservation work begins at Ring of Brodgar stone circle at the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site

dd55fba7-c202-436a-906c-44a1408b35c1

The next steps are underway to conserve the 4,000-year-old Ring of Brodgar, one of the largest stone circles in Britain, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has announced.

The low lying position, exposed terrain and proximity to two major bodies of water have long posed drainage challenges at the site, with the combination of wet weather and soft turf paths resulting in boggy conditions and wear to the turf.

To tackle this, HES began a programme of improvements in 2016, which are now nearing completion, with replacement of some areas of turf and the temporary restriction of the inner circle path. To help keep the locally cultivated turf healthy, £10,000 is to be invested in new equipment for the Kirkwall-based Monument Conservation team.

What conservation work will be carried out?

Stephen Watt, HES District Architect, explained how the work will be carried out: 'We’ve examined techniques used at other Neolithic sites, such as Stonehenge, to create a hidden system that allows natural drainage without disrupting the important archaeological layer.

'By layering with a geotextile membrane, gravel, sand and perforated pipes topped with wear resistant turf, water can be drawn away from the pathways, without the need for deep excavation. We are now working to replace some areas of worn turf, while we allow all of the recently laid turf to bed in over winter and spring.'

Inner path restrictions

Restrictions to the inner path has now begun and signage and fencing will direct visitors to the outer pathway, which affords a clear view across the site.

From spring 2018, restrictions on the inner circle will be lifted and a new management plan implemented. This will see alternating routes round the circle introduced to allow parts of the pathways to rest and the addition of temporary raised walkways over the access causeways, where footfall is concentrated.

Guided walks at Ring of Brodgar

Orkney World Heritage Site Ranger Sandra Miller explained how the new access will work: "The Ring of Brodgar combines a stunning natural beauty with the archaeological legacy left by Orkney’s Neolithic society. We want to make sure that people can keep enjoying it year round, with continued access to the inner ring path. The work that’s been done over the last two years and the new management plan will make sure that visitors can continue to experience the full thrill of the site.

"Our free guided walks will be continuing on through the winter months, with walks on most Thursday afternoons. I'm looking forward to being able to tell our visitors about the latest work.

For more on Ring of Brodgar, visit the Historic Environment Scotland website.

(images copyright Historic Environment Scotland)

Back to "Scottish archaeology" Category

23/11/2017 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

Covenanter James Renwick was executed - On this day in history

Scottish Minister James Renwick was executed on 17 February 1688 for refusing to swear fealty to King James ...


On this day in history - Government forces attempted to capture Prince Charles Edward Stuart

Government forces, under the leadership of Lord Louden, failed in their attempt to capture Charles Edward ...


The Caledonian Railway Company opened - On this day in history

The Caledonian Railway Company opened on 15 February 1848, running trains between Glasgow and London.


'Significant milestone' as full survey results of German Fleet salvage sites archaeology project published online

The extent and composition of the salvage site of the German High Seas Fleet, that was scuttled almost a ...


Other Articles

Alexander Graham Bell filed a patent for the telephone - On this day in history

Alexander Graham Bell filed a patent for the telephone on 14 February 1876.


The Glencoe Massacre took place - On this day in Scottish history

The Glencoe Massacre took place on 13 February 1692.


Reverend Henry Duncan died - On this day in history

Reverend Henry Duncan, founder of one of the world's first commercial savings banks, died on 12 February ...


History Scotland Lectures III - Global Scotland in the age of Brexit: Historical perspectives on the Scottish diaspora and migration

The third in the History Scotland Lectures series, in association with the University of Dundee Centre for ...