Between Stromness and Finstown is Maeshowe, an ancient burial site in a circular mound with an outer ditch. It's about 4,500 years old, and is preserved in amazing condition (unfortuntely photos inside are forbidden). Inside we can find the mound with a stone door or gate, and you have to dig down about 6 meters. It's fascinating to discover that all parts of the structures - the walls, ceiling and floor - are made of stone 6m long. Even more interesting is the fact that when the sun sets on the island, its rays filter through the entrance hallway horizontally, focusing on the crypt within. Once inside, we went to the crypt room, where we found four niches for depositing mortuary remains. About two thousand lines of messages were written in runes, and remain fully readable to this day. Maeshowe is considered the best preserved burial mound of Northern Europe.
The "Brochs" are buildings in Scotland, mainly on the north and west coasts. A broch was usually a high-rise tower, built of stone, that marked important locations, especially for boaters who used them as a reference. In some of them fires were lit at nigh.. They usually have a life of about 2500 years (approximately). In Orkney, interestingly, the brochs were not isolated buildings. They were surrounded by houses, indicating that they were considered important sites. The Broch of Gurness is located on the north coast, facing another Broch (Midhowe) that can be found in another of the islands that make up the Orkney Islands Rousay, suggesting that the passage between the two islands was controlled by both Brochs and commercial communication existed between the two populations. From a cultural-historical perspective the constructions seem very interesting, because different customs reveal different known (or assumed) cultures. I remember being at the top of a Broch, the best preserved of Scotland (Mousa, Shetland Islands). The views and position indicate that its construction isn't random at all.
Skara Brae is one of the best-preserved Neolithic villages in Northern Europe. More than 5,000 years old, it is a fascinating place. I had never seen anything like it before. Located on the coast and flanked by cliffs, Skara Brae was discovered in 1850 after a storm shifted the sands on the beach. You can see beds, cabinets, ceilings, doors, boxes and other decorative elements made of stone. The village is complete and still stands in amazing condition, and you can visit the central market area, the streets, and see examples of ventilation in the houses. The entrances to the houses are very low, but not because the people who lived there were short...rather, they entered in a squatting position to keep warm and avoid exposure to the natural elements. In fact, a study has shown that the population had an average height of 1.70m. Stone and whale bone tools show that the main activities here were based on fishing and raising cattle. It is assumed that the settlement was abandoned because of a sandstorm, like the one that revealed it thousands of years later. Definitely an archaeological gem worth visiting.
Just outside the town of Kirkaldy, Stirling towards the A915 road are a set of megalithic standing stones in the middle of a field, undoubtedly one of the most important prehistoric remains in the area. From an aerial view, these stones form a perfect circle, which could indicate a meeting place for religious rituals. The best preserved stone is very large, weighing nearly 5 tons and is more than two meters high. A real gem. But the best thing is that this site is that it was found by chance by a bored shepherd who started digging around a rock in 2004 and found all of what we see today. Following this discovery, research revealed that this place on a hill was an important place in prehistoric times.
The Tomb of the Eagles south of the island, in South Ronaldsay, is perhaps the best preserved site on the island. It owes its name to the burial method used by the prehistoric inhabitants of this part of the island. They never buried a corpse that had remaining muscle or viscera. Once deceased, the body was located high along the cliffs, where primarily golden eagles, very characteristics of the area, ate the body flesh until only the skeleton remained, this was subsequently buried (could be described as fleshing or something similar). This among other things, was very hygienic and avoided pests and diseases in the tribe. By chance this site was discovered by a farmer in 1958, he is responsible for maintaining and displaying the place to visitors, obviously with supervision by archaeologists and historians. The visit consists of two stages, the first, furthest away from the cliffs, is the remains of a Bronze Age house (ca. 500 BC), along with a stream of water and in a worse state than the second stop, Tomb of the Eagles itself, a burial mound between 3,000 and 5,000 years old, according to the remains found. In the second you have to lie in a rudimentary car that moves by puling a rope attached to both ends (outside - inside). Once inside, the conservation and the size of the stones is awesome as well as the human remains that are protected by glass. The return is via a different route, next to a cliff with spectacular views south (Ness Lighthouse). An essential place to visit in the Orkneys, learn and enjoy it very much.