Medieval

Layers of sand, layers of history

Lines in sandstone caused by natural weathering. Despite the visual similarity they are not runes.

Lines in sandstone caused by natural weathering. Despite the visual similarity they are not runes. Reverse side of stone. Lines in sandstone caused by natural weathering. Despite the visual similarity they are not runes. Beach combing in Burray Burray is an exciting place for beach combers: Along a wide, beautifully arched bay, the layers of [...]

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A pilgrimage in sleet

St Magnus Way: Across the Orphir hills in sleet and snow, December 2017. The sun glowing golden on the horizon over Scapa Flow between sleety showers.

St Magnus Way: Across the Orphir hills in sleet and snow, December 2017. The sun glowing golden on the horizon over Scapa Flow between sleety showers. The Round Kirk, Orphir. 12th Century. Believed to have been commissioned by Earl Hakon Palsson, killer of St Magnus, after a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Firth and Orphir on a [...]

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Chocolate archaeology for Christmas

Brodgar Archaeological Chocolate is now in William Shearer's very special Christmas shop, Kirkwall.

Brodgar Archaeological Chocolate at Kirkness and Gorie, Kirkwall. Christmas at Kirkness & Gorie Kirkness and Gorie is a very old family run shop in Kirkwall, specialising in good wine, good cheese and good food, and therefore the ideal place to find Christmas gifts. Ingrid and Duncan, the owners, have supported Brodgar Archaeological Chocolate from the [...]

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Pilgrimage on St Magnus Way

Ragnhild Ljosland Orkney Tourist Guide

On the St Magnus Way pilgrimage route, Orkney, with tourist guide Dr Ragnhild Ljosland. An Orkney pilgrimage on St Magnus Way On the 16th of April 2017, to the day 900 years after the martyrdom of St Magnus, the pilgrimage route opened, which traces the route of his relics. It is a 55 mile walk [...]

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The mystery of the rune disc

The rune inscribed stone disc (OR 1) from Stackrue Broch.

This glorious Sunday we spent in Lyking, trying to get to the bottom of a mystery. We had invited Andrea Blendl along: She is doing a PhD on runic inscriptions, and I (Raggie) am one of her supervisors. Andrea had for some time tried to find out more about the history of a rune inscribed [...]

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We found a stone dish on the beach today

The Round Kirk, Orphir. 12th Century. Believed to have been commissioned by Earl Hakon Palsson, killer of St Magnus, after a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Today was the first day you could really feel the sun warming your face again, so it seems we are now through the deepest of winter. Chris and I took our boys to the beach below The Bu in Orphir today — the site of Earl Hakon Palsson’s round church and formerly also a Viking […]

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Digging for Kirkwall Castle

There’s a very exciting project going on in Kirkwall at the moment: The great garden dig, led by archaeologist Dan Lee. Being a community project, everyone is welcome to dig, so we did — including the children. The digging happens in volunteer gardens along what was once Kirkwall’s shoreline. We had a go at digging […]

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The Hogboon of Helliehow

On impulse, we took the ferry out to Sanday, but quickly discovered that 24 hours was nowhere near enough time to explore everything we wanted to see there. One thing I wanted to explore in particular, was Helliehow up in the north end of Sanday. I have been into mound folklore lately, especially those stories […]

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Medieval castle with connections to Saint Magnus – and a sea monster!

29th December 2015 Sandwiched between two stormy nights with gale force 80 mph at its fiercest, we were given a beautiful golden day basking in ten degrees and low sunshine. We decided on Holm in the East Mainland – the parish which is spelled “Holm” but pronounced as “ham” because it comes from the Old […]

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Castle of Weems at Sandwick in South Ronaldsay

I often find myself attracted by place-names. The “Castle of Weems” – Is it a castle? ‘Castle’ can mean so many things, from a natural sea stack to a broch mound to the remains of a medieval fortified structure. And “Weems” is a Gaelic place-name, which is unusual in Orkney, meaning an underground built structure […]

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