'The Ness and its People' opens at Maeshowe Visitor Centre

11 July 2022
'The Ness and its People' is at Maeshowe Visitor this summer
The Ness and Its People, an exhibition of finds uncovered at the nearby Ness of Brodgar excavation, opens at Maeshowe Visitor Centre from today.

Under excavation since 2004, The Ness of Brodgar site is revealing a massive complex of monumental Neolithic structures dating from the centuries around 3000 BC, making it one of the most important archaeological excavations in the world today.

Archaeologists and specialists involved in excavating the site are gaining insight into the culture and beliefs of Neolithic Orkney, shining a new light on the prehistory of northern Europe.

Skills of an ancient people

The exhibition offers visitors the chance to get up close to the Ness of Brodgar, its people, their belongings, and their lives, for the first time.

Visitors can ponder the choices made, skills used, and creativity displayed by the people at the Ness by viewing the mace heads, carved stones, pottery fragments, tools and skeuomorphs from the site.

Phil Hopkins, Monument Manager at Historic Environment Scotland (HES), said: “The exhibition is a fantastic opportunity to see artefacts from the Ness of Brodgar which is within touching distance of Maeshowe Visitor Centre. This is very rare opportunity for visitors to see objects so close to where they have been found - there’s never usually a building located next to an active dig to create an exhibition like this.

“We’re encouraging new and returning visitors to come along and combine a visit of the Ness with the exhibition to see for themselves the mysterious objects being discovered by archaeologists and specialists involved in excavating the site.”

Anne Mitchell, Ness of Brodgar Project Development Officer from the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI)  Department of Archaeology said:

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“We’re delighted to have this exhibition running over our 2022 dig season. This is the first year that we’ve been able to display finds to visitors of The Ness, which has been made possible due to a grant received from the Orkney Islands Council Culture Fund.

“The local support in bringing this exhibition to life has been incredible with Historic Environment Scotland generously hosting the exhibition at Maeshowe Visitor Centre, both Stromness and Orkney museums have designed the exhibition and Orkney Crystal has provided the display cases.”

Opening times

Entry to The Ness and Its People exhibition is free.  It is on from Monday 11th July until Friday 12th August, 9.30am – 1pm and 2pm – 5pm at Maeshowe Visitor Centre. However, due to limited capacity, visitors are advised to reserve a place online to guarantee entry to Maeshowe Chambered Cairn 

Maeshowe Visitor Centre (at Stenness), Ireland Road, Stenness KW16 3LB

Report and images courtesy Historic Environment Scotland