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11 July 2022

The Ness and Its People Exhibition opens at Maeshowe Visitor Centre

Aerial photo of the Ness of Brodgar excavation site

The Ness and Its People, an exhibition of finds uncovered at the nearby Ness of Brodgar excavation, opens at Maeshowe Visitor Centre from 11 July until 12 August.

Under excavation since 2004, The Ness of Brodgar site is revealing a massive complex of monumental Neolithic dating from the centuries around 3000BC, 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.

Through the fascinating objects found from the excavation, 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 Cenre. This is a 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, University of the Highlands and Islands said:

“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.”

Entry to The Ness and Its People exhibition is free. It is on from Monday 11 July until Friday 12 August, 9.30am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm at Maeshowe Visitor Centre. 

Due to limited capacity, visitors are advised to reserve a place online to guarantee entry to Maeshowe Chambered Cairn.

About Maeshowe

Maeshowe, a monumental chambered tomb, is the finest Neolithic building to survive in northwest Europe. Built around 5,000 years ago, it is a masterpiece of Neolithic design and construction – not least because of its use of massive stones.

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About Year of Stories 2022

The Year of Stories (#YS2022 #TalesOfScotland), led by VisitScotland, will be showcased throughout 2022 and will spotlight, celebrate and promote the wealth of stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland. From icons of literature to local tales, Scotland’s Year of Stories encourages locals and visitors to experience a diversity of voices, take part in events and explore the places, people and cultures connected to all forms of our stories, past and present.

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES) 

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For further information, please contact:

Barry McPherson
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
0131 668 8588