Video: Orkney’s Ring of Brodgar glows in the dark

The Ring of Brodgar site on Orkney glows in the dark to mark World Heritage Day. PIC: Dig It! 2017/Tom O'Brien.

The Ring of Brodgar site on Orkney glows in the dark to mark World Heritage Day. PIC: Dig It! 2017/Tom O'Brien.

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The Heart of Neolithic Orkney glowed in the dark this week with a procession of painted people descending on the 4,500-year-old site.

Revellers armed with light staffs led a nighttime procession to the Ring of Brodgar at Stenness and danced in the shadows of the sacred stones.

READ MORE: Strange tales from six of Scotland’s sacred stone sites

The event was organised by the Archaeology Institute at the University of Highlands and Islands and DigIt!2017 to mark World Heritage Day.

Members of Orkney Youth Café dug into their local history to help develop the celebration.

READ MORE: 20 best prehistoric sites in Scotland

The Ring of Brodgar site in Orkney glow in the dark to mark World Heritage Day. PIC: UHI Archaeology Institute.

The Ring of Brodgar site in Orkney glow in the dark to mark World Heritage Day. PIC: UHI Archaeology Institute.

UV face paint and other final touches were applied at Skara Brae, before the young people led the procession of local people to the Ring of Brodgar.

Dating from 2,500 to 2,000 BC, the stone ring was built in a true circle, 104 metres wide and originally contained 60 megaliths.

Today, only 27 of these stones remain in the formation which is believed to have been built as astronomical observatory or a religious shrine and ritual site.

The Ring of Brodgar along with Stones of Stenness, Maeshowe and Skara Brae make up the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, which was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Sites status in 1999.

The Ring of Brodgar, which is up to 4,500 years old, was transformed with colour and light. PIC:  UHI Archaeology Institute.

The Ring of Brodgar, which is up to 4,500 years old, was transformed with colour and light. PIC: UHI Archaeology Institute.

The five other sites recognised by UNESCO are Edinburgh Old and New Town, The Forth Bridge, The Antonine Wall, St Kilda and New Lanark.

Dig It! 2017, which is promoting the discovery of Scotland’s archaeology, has created a bucket list-style challenge to vist all six sites this year.

Fiona Hyslop, Culture and Tourism Secretary, said: “Scotland’s six iconic World Heritage Sites are magnificent. They are of international significance and attract thousands of visitors every year.

“This challenge, part of Dig It! 2017, will encourage tourists from home and abroad to discover some of Scotland’s finest attractions.

Members of the Orkney Youth Cafe led the procession to the site daubed in UV paint and carrying light staffs. PIC: UHI Archaeology Institute.

Members of the Orkney Youth Cafe led the procession to the site daubed in UV paint and carrying light staffs. PIC: UHI Archaeology Institute.

“History and heritage is a key driver for visits to Scotland, which is why in 2017 we are celebrating the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.”

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