Archaeology: the scientific study of historic or prehistoric peoples and their cultures by analysis of their artifacts, inscriptions, monuments, and other such remains, especially those that have been excavated. -Dictionary.com
This immersive panorama and its three accompanying WWP presentations, presents a snapshot of archaeological work in progress at the Ness of Brodgar in the Orkney Islands, off the north coast of Scotland. Once regarded as lying at the periphery of Neolithic cultures, recent work here has led some scholars to believe that it may actually be the center, or at least have played a significant role on the culture of the time, some 5,000 years ago.
The Ness of Brodgar and surrounding areas contain numerous ancient remains, from single standing stones to elaborate tombs to ruins of large and small buildings of uncertain purpose. It is said in Orkney that if you scratch the land, it bleeds archaeology. While we can never know all the details of long-past cultural systems, many people feel it is important to learn what we can from what does remain. In the case of the Ness, we are fortunately to be able to take time for careful, thorough examination of entire structures - as well as many partial ones - on this ancient landscape palimpsest.
Each of these vignettes shows a team of more than 60 people working to uncover and record what they can about those who lived here five millennia ago. Participants include professional archaeologists, current and former students, volunteers with a keen interest in the subject, and local schoolchildren out for a day on the site. The fieldwork can be slow at times, but individual artifacts turn up often enough to keep things interesting, and trying to make sense of so many stones and walls keeps even the pros scratching their heads.
More about the Ness of Brodgar excavations, other contemporary sites, and Neolithic culture