Sunday 11th April 2021,
Frontiers Magazine

Browsing the "Archaeology & History" Category

Picking Roots

The cures of Hudson’s Bay

The Hudson’s Bay Company, which celebrates its 350th anniversary this year, had an immense economic impact on Orkney in a time of otherwise little opportunity, providing income and employment locally and to many hundreds of men who went to work for it in northern Canada. The voyage from Stromness to the James Bay area of [...]

December 10, 2020 Mary Leonard Archaeology & History, Winter Issue 2021 Comments Off

A Roman Frontier in north-east Scotland?

Over nearly fifty years Ian Keillar worked to build a picture of the Roman relationship with Scotland, bringing to the task the discipline of his profession of engineering and the experience of his wartime service in the Middle East, along with a highly cautious and self-critical approach. The summers of aerial photography that he carried [...]

July 5, 2020 Ian Keillar Archaeology & History Comments Off

The Era when the Cold Came Back

By 16,000 years ago, according to the current estimates of the BRITICE-CHRONO project, the ice sheet which had covered almost all the future British isles for thousands of years was gone. There were still glaciers in mountains, small ice sheets surviving on high ranges and plateaux, and it was cooler on average than now across [...]

August 14, 2019 Steve Webster Archaeology & History Comments Off
Sunset at 11pm just before longest day (Marion Muir)

Standing stone holds clues to early Orcadians

It stands in an open field in North Ronaldsay that slopes to the sea, down from the Old Kirk with its fine belltower, and you can stand in its lee in the wind and the sun and look out across the water to other islands in the distance. It’s a slab of stone about 13 [...]

April 20, 2015 Howie Firth Archaeology & History Comments Off
Exterior view with Barley

Maeshowe on the internet

Go to for live winter coverage from the Maeshowe webcams. Maeshowe (HY315128), considered to be one of the greatest architectural achievements of Neolithic Europe, is Orkney’s largest and finest chambered cairn. The Orkneyinga Saga refers to it as Orkahaugr (ON Mound of the Orks). The name Maeshowe may derive from ON Maers-howe, Maiden’s Mound. [...]

August 17, 2013 Charles Tait Archaeology & History Comments Off

The Norse town of Kirkwall

Evan MacGillivray, who died in 1987, is often described as the father of Orkney’s Library and Archive Service. The Kirkwall Library is the oldest public library in Scotland, with its origins going back to 1683, and as County Librarian after World War II Evan MacGillivray was responsible for introducing many of the core features of [...]

July 6, 2013 Evan MacGillivray Archaeology & History Comments Off

The lost world beneath the waves

An old Orkney legend may carry a hint of the rising sea. It tells of Orkneymen visiting Norway and meeting there an old woman from Orkney who inquires about the land she left long ago. ‘And what like are the Bonnie Woods of Otterswick?’ she asked in the Sanday version of the story. Otterswick today [...]

July 1, 2013 Howie Firth Archaeology & History, Summer Issue 2013 Comments Off
Adele studies how the hood was made

Touching the past

Known as the ‘Orkney Hood’, a unique woollen garment made for a child over 1500 years ago, was recently the focus of an activity day in an Orkney School. Pupils from P3 and P4 classes at St Andrews School in East Mainland, close by the site where the woven hood was found in a bog [...]

June 30, 2013 Lynda Aiano Archaeology & History Comments Off
Sunrise at Brodgar

Sunrise at Brodgar

It happened with the tenth issue of the Orkney Telephone Directory; a very good photograph of the double stone (the only double stone) at the ring of Brodgar was on the cover. As it lay in front of me I suddenly thought the sight line enclosed by the stone pointed in the direction of sunrise [...]

March 1, 2013 Peter K.I. Leith Archaeology & History 0

On earth as it is in heaven – was Orion linked to Orkney’s Neolithic heartland?

If there is one constellation that dominates an Orkney winter, it must surely be Orion. Even to those not remotely interested in astronomy, this pattern of stars is one of the most striking and recognisable in the night sky. Four bright stars form an hourglass shape around Orion’s “belt” – a band of three stars [...]

March 1, 2013 Sigurd Towrie Archaeology & History 0