Norse and Viking

Sssh, don’t tell – Flotta is our secret!

Detail of the exquisite carved cross decoration on the Flotta Stone Pictish altar front.
Flotta: A hidden gem among the Orkney Islands! Coming to Orkney on holiday and want to go island hopping, but not quite sure which island to go to? Here's somewhere out of the ordinary: Try Flotta! It is a seriously underrated Orkney island, but has a lot to offer. Many people wouldn't think of going [...]Read more of Sssh, don’t tell – Flotta is our secret!...

New: St Magnus Orkney RUBY chocolate

St Magnus Orkney ruby chocolate is edible archaeology, and takes its design from the magnificent Norse 12th century cathedral, St Magnus in Kirkwall, Orkney Islands.
"St Magnus Orkney" is the new chocolate in our edible archaeology product selection. It takes its beautiful design from a consecration cross carved into the old red sandstone of the magnificent 12th century Norse cathedral, St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, Orkney. The original carving is to be found on the wall above where the shrine [...]Read more of New: St Magnus Orkney RUBY chocolate...

Archaeology in Orkney: What should I see? Handy map and bucket list

Looking into Skara Brae house 1, Skaill, Orkney
Are you coming to Orkney? Are you keen to see archaeology? Orkney is fantastic for archaeology! It's difficult to choose what to see or where to go. Therefore, I have helped you out with this handy map (link at the bottom). I would be happy to guide you, or you can visit on your own. [...]Read more of Archaeology in Orkney: What should I see? Handy map and bucket list...

When walls talk: The medieval and post-medieval graffiti of Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim, Norway

Helmet and heraldic shield, believed to be that of Karl Knutsson Bonde.
Introduction to Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim and its relationship with St Magnus Cathedral, Orkney Transcript of a public talk given to Orkney Archaeology Society, 27th November 2018. By Dr Ragnhild Ljosland Graffiti is so exciting because the walls talk to us, and by looking for and recording the graffiti, we are finally listening to them! Nidaros [...]Read more of When walls talk: The medieval and post-medieval graffiti of Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim, Norway...

Why did Lifolf the cook cry?

Martyrdom of St Magnus, re-enacted, April 2017, Egilsay, Orkney, for Magnus 900.
Martyrdom of St Magnus, re-enacted, April 2017, Egilsay, Orkney, for Magnus 900. Saint Magnus church, Birsay Why did Lifolf the earl's cook cry? Male tears and changing masculine ideals in Orkneyinga Saga. Big Viking boys don't cry In saga literature, real men don't cry. Not even as they are being assassinated, or their entire family [...]Read more of Why did Lifolf the cook cry?...

Day trip to Hoy with the Vikings, the moon is coming to Stromness, and other things to do in Orkney in late August and early September

Viking Hiking day trip to Hoy. Travel with the Vikings and enjoy a Viking feast on the beach at Rackwick
What to do in Orkney in August/September? It's late in the summer, but many visitors find that Orkney is just as beautiful in the shoulder season - This is also when the community wakes up again after the summer holidays, and things start getting busy with festivals, concerts and other happenings. So here is a [...]Read more of Day trip to Hoy with the Vikings, the moon is coming to Stromness, and other things to do in Orkney in late August and early September...

Thor’s Hammer

Viking Chocolate: Thor's Hammer. Made in dark chocolate. Part of the Viking Hoard chocolate box by Brodgar Archaeological Chocolate.
Dark chocolate Thor's Hammer This dark chocolate Thor's Hammer is part of the Viking Hoard box, which you can find in many of the sets in our web shop. I made it in dark chocolate because Thor is the god of thunder, riding his chariot through the dark clouds and striking lightning with his hammer. [...]Read more of Thor’s Hammer...

Up Helly Aa special

Chocolate Viking Hoard: Viking Sun Disc and Loki Mask made in chocolate. The Brodgar Chocolate Viking Hoard contains 7 pieces, in milk and dark chocolate: 1 Trefoil Brooch, 2 Sun Discs, 2 Thor's Hammers and 2 Loki Masks. Each is a chocolate replica of real Viking jewellery, made in collaboration with Nordens Historiska Fynd. Photo credit: Asgard.
Chocolate Viking Hoard: Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, made in chocolate. The Brodgar Chocolate Viking Hoard contains 7 pieces, in milk and dark chocolate: 1 Trefoil Brooch, 2 Sun Discs, 2 Thor's Hammers and 2 Loki Masks. Each is a chocolate replica of real Viking jewellery, made in collaboration with Nordens Historiska Fynd. Photo credit: Asgard. Up [...]Read more of Up Helly Aa special...

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 [...]Read more of Layers of sand, layers of history...

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 [...]Read more of A pilgrimage in sleet...

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 [...]Read more of Chocolate archaeology for Christmas...

Viking Chocolate now available at Skate Rumple

Ellen Forkin in a festive mood at Skate Rumple Festive Shop, Deerness.
Skate Rumple Alpaca farm in Deerness is one of my absolute favourite places in Orkney. The alpacas, goats, pigs and other animals are super cute, and the family who run it, Mandy, Nick and Ellen, are so great at making people feel welcome. I always come away from there smiling, having had some good full-on [...]Read more of Viking Chocolate now available at Skate Rumple...

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 [...]Read more of The mystery of the rune disc...

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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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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Castle of the rune stone

27 Feb 2016 Yet again we are back at the Castle of Breckness looking for the missing piece of our rune stone. The whole thing started back in 2001, when Chris and I were very young. We were having this romantic walk along the shore near Stromness, and came to the ruins of Breckness. As the […]

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A rouge Viking at Swanbister, Orphir

On Christmas Eve we went to explore at Swanbister bay in Orphir. Our first stop was by a remarkable mound in the landscape, known as the Hillock of Breakna. It seems to contain an Iron Age broch, and a depression in the middle seems to indicate that it has been dug at some point in […]

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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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A green spindle whorl from Harray

Christopher was out fieldwalking today, seeking out landowners to ask permission to use their fields for the new community fieldwalking project that he’s involved in. Fieldwalking is a nice way of screening large areas of land for potential new sites, and here in Orkney you often come across scatterings of flint and other archaeology in […]

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