Burnishing is a form of pottery treatment in which the surface of the pot is polished, using a hard smooth surface such as a wooden or bone spatula, smooth stones, plastic, or glass bulbs, while it still is in a leathery'green' state, i.e. before firing. After firing, the surface is shiny; the whole outer surface of the pot is thus decorated, but in certain ceramic traditions there is'pattern burnishing' where the outside and, in the case of open bowls, the inside, are decorated with burnished patterns in which some areas are left matte. This technique can be applied to concrete masonry. Burnishing can be applied to wood, by rubbing two pieces together along the grain. Hard woods take the treatment best. Burnishing does not protect the wood like a varnish does impart a glossy sheen. If one wood has a dye in it or is colored in some way, it may rub off onto the other wood. Burnishing can apply to relief printing
South Ronaldsay is one of the Orkney Islands off the north coast of Scotland. It is linked to the Orkney Mainland by the Churchill Barriers, running via Burray, Glimps Holm and Lamb Holm. With an area of 4,980 hectares, it is the fourth largest of the Orkney islands after The Mainland and Sanday. Ferries sail from Burwick on the island to John o' Groats on the Scottish mainland and from St Margaret's Hope to Gills Bay. South Ronaldsay's main village is Orkney's third largest settlement, it is named either after Margaret, Maid of Norway, the heir to the Scottish throne who died in Orkney age seven or St. Margaret; the village is known for its annual Boys' Ploughing Match. During this event young girls and boys dressed in dark jackets play the part of the horses and young boys using miniature ploughs compete with one another at ploughing a 4-foot square rig in the nearby sands; the cardinal points of the island are Ayre of Cara, by Churchill Barrier no. 4, Grim Ness, Brough Ness, Hoxa Head. The highest elevation is Ward Hill.
This name is common one in Orkney for the highest point on an island and comes from the historic use of these places used for the lighting of warning beacons. The island is known for the Neolithic Isbister Chambered Cairn, popularly known as the "Tomb of the Eagles". Discovered by Ronald Simison in 1958 in the south east of the island, 16,000 human bones and 725 bird bones were found at the site, the latter predominantly belonging to the White-tailed Sea Eagle; the evidence suggests that the human bodies had been exposed to the elements to remove the flesh before burial. The tomb was in continuous use for a millennium or more; the burnt mound at nearby Liddle, discovered by Simison in 1972, is the best example of a Bronze Age cooking place in Orkney. Made of flat slabs sealed with clay, the central stone trough would have been filled with water heated by stones using peat as a fuel; the building was roofless. There is a broch site at Howe of Hoxa in the north west that may have been the burial place of Thorfinn "Skullsplitter".
In 1627 nine chapels were recorded on the island with some of the names hinting at the existence of Christian worship prior to the Norse conquest of Orkney. They were: Sant Androis at Woundwick, Our Ladie at Halcro, Sant Colmis at Loch of Burwick, Ruid chappell in Sandwick, Sant Tola in Wydwall, Sant Colme in Hoxay, Sant Margrat in the Howp, Sant Colmeis in Grymnes and Sant Ninian in Stow; the locations are all known. In the late seventeenth century South Ronaldsay was described as "fertile in Corns and abounding with People". Murdoch MacKenzie’s 1750 map of the island indicates the site of lead workings near Grimness and a visitor in 1774 "saw several deep holes which I was informed were sunk in search of Lead ore" although only small quantities were mined. By the late eighteenth century South Ronaldsay was divided into two unequally sized parishes, St. Peter’s covered the northern two thirds of the island while St. Mary’s formed the southern third. St. Peter's church appears on Blaeu's 1654 map.
By 1793 the building had no roof and was "exposed to all the winds of heaven" but as repaired by 1801. A Pictish symbol stone was discovered in a window in the church. On one face of the slab is a mirror-case underlying part of an undecorated crescent and V-rod and on the other a crescent and V-rod, ornamented with scrollwork, below a decorated panel. During the 19th century the island's economy benefited from the herring fishing industry and St Margaret's Hope became the main trading centre for the South Isles. In 1890 there were 18 tradesmen located there. Tomison's Academy was founded by William Tomison, a native of the island who became Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company; when it opened it had 170 pupils but the school closed in the 1960s. Tomison is buried nearby in the grounds of Dundas House. In 1991, the island was rocked by false allegations of widespread child abuse and satanic rituals in a scandal that saw nine children being removed from their families by police and social workers.
The case was thrown out of court when it was found the social workers were using unorthodox interrogation techniques to force confessions from the children, who all denied the abuse. There are other structures in the local vernacular style; the island is part of the "East Mainland, South Ronaldsay and Burray" ward, represented on the Orkney Islands Council by three independent councillors. The local community council covers both Burray. Microtus arvalis ronaldshaiensis is one of five varieties of the Orkney vole, a sub-species of the common vole found only in the Orkney islands. Larger than the common vole, it has shorter, paler fur; the Orkney voles were introduced to the archipelago in Neolithic times. The oldest known radiocarbon-dated fossil of the Orkney vole is 4600 years BP, which marks the latest possible date of introduction. List of Orkney Islands Alexander Carrick, sculptor of war memorial and linked to Saint Margaret's Hope Clive Strutt, resident composer Notes Bibliography Barthelmess, Isle Barbette A Celebration of Sunrise at the Tomb of the Eagles.
Orkney Museums and Heritage. ISBN 978-0-9548862-0-2 Picken, Stuart D. B; the Soul of an Orkney Parish, The Kirkwall Press, Kirkwall, 1972. Lamb, The Place-Names of South Ronaldsay and Burray, Bellavista Publications, Kirkwall, 2006. Undiscovered Scotland Page
Prehistoric Orkney refers to a period in the human occupation of the Orkney archipelago of Scotland, the latter part of these islands' prehistory. The period of prehistory prior to occupation by the genus Homo is part of the geology of Scotland. Although some written records refer to Orkney during the Roman invasions of Scotland, prehistory in northern Scotland does not end until the commencement of the Early Historic Period around AD 600. There are numerous important prehistoric remains in Orkney from the Neolithic period, four of which form a World Heritage Site. There are diverse reasons for the abundance of the archaeological record; the sandstone bedrock provides workable stone materials and the wind-blown sands have helped preserve several sites. The relative lack of industrialisation and low incidence of ploughing have helped to preserve these ancient monuments. Local tradition hints at both a fear and veneration of these ancient structures that may have helped to retain their structural integrity.
Prehistory is conventionally divided into a number of shorter periods but differentiating these various eras of human history is a complex task – their boundaries are uncertain and the changes between them are gradual. The Paleolithic lasted until the retreat of the ice, the Mesolithic until the adoption of farming and the Neolithic until metalworking commenced. A number of the sites span long periods of time and in particular the distinctions between the Neolithic and the periods are not clear cut; the extraordinary wealth of structures from the Neolithic is not matched either by the early periods, for which the evidence of human occupation is sparse or non-existent, or the Bronze Age which provides a relative dearth of evidence. The subsequent Iron Age supported a return to monumental building of brochs. Formal excavations were first recorded in the late 18th century and as they proceeded an understanding of the structures involved progressed from little more than folklore to modern archaeological science.
The sites discussed are found on the Orkney Mainland. No traces have yet been found in Scotland of either a Neanderthal presence or of Homo sapiens during the Pleistocene interglacials; the first indications of humans occur only after the ice retreated in the 11th millennium BC and the current Flandrian interglacial began. Since that time the landscape of Orkney has been altered by both natural forces. Sea levels were lower than at present due to the large volume of ice that remained; this meant that the Orkney islands may have been attached to the mainland, as was the present-day island of Great Britain to Continental Europe. Much of the North Sea basin was dry land until after 4000 BC; this would have made travel to northern Scotland easy for early human settlers. The subsequent isostatic rise of land makes estimating post-glacial coastlines a complex task; the limited archaeological record provides scant evidence of Mesolithic life in Orkney in particular and Scotland north of Inverness in general.
"Lithic scatter" sites at Seatter, South Ettit, Wideford Hill and Loch of Stenness have produced small polished stone tools and chippings. A charred hazelnut shell, recovered during the excavations at Longhowe in Tankerness in 2007, has been dated to 6820-6660 BC. However, there is no evidence to suggest whether or not these sites were in year-round occupation and no Mesolithic burial sites have been uncovered anywhere in Scotland to date. A excavated site on Stronsay has produced a thousand pieces of flint and what may be evidence of a temporary camp. With a tentative dating of 7000 BC or older it may prove to be the oldest settlement site found so far on Orkney. About 6000 BC the Storegga Slides of the coast of Norway created a tsunami that reached 25 metres above normal high tides in places. Evidence of widespread coastal inundations from a wave 8 metres high has been found as far south as Fife and the impact on shore-dwelling mesolithic societies in Orkney would have been considerable; the assemblage of monumental Neolithic structures in Orkney is without parallel in the United Kingdom and on the Orkney Mainland provides an entire landscape of features from this period.
During this time, complex new societies came to the fore that were a radical departure from the earlier hunter-gatherers and which were capable of creating substantial structures. The Neolithic in Scotland lasted from 4000 to 2200 BC and Orkney as a whole has nearly 3,000 identified Neolithic sites all told. British archaeologists have interpreted this era as having two distinct phases. In the Orcadian context, there are definite developments during the Neolithic, but the changes are gradual and tend to build on earlier ideas rather than appearing to form two distinct periods; the great Orcadian Neolithic monuments were constructed a millennium before the sarsen stones of Stonehenge were erected. At one time it was believed that this flowering of culture was peripheral and that its origins were to be found to the south on mainland Great Britain; however discovered evidence shows that Orkney was the starting place for much of the megalithic culture, including styles of architecture and pottery, that developed much in the southern British Isles.
Knap of Howar Neolithic farmstead is the oldest preserved house in northern Europe. Situated on the island of Papa Westray (which may have been combined w
Midhowe Chambered Cairn
Midhowe Chambered Cairn is a large Neolithic chambered cairn located on the south shore of the island of Rousay, Scotland. The name "Midhowe" comes from the Iron Age broch known as Midhowe Broch, that lies just west of the tomb; the broch got its name from the fact that it's the middle of three such structures that lie grouped within 500 metres of each other and Howe from the Old Norse word haugr meaning mound or barrow. Together, the broch and chambered cairn form part of a large complex of ancient structures on the shore of Eynhallow Sound separating Rousay from Mainland, Orkney; the tomb is a well preserved example of the Orkney-Cromarty type of chambered cairn. Tombs of this type are referred to as "stalled" cairns due to their distinctive internal structure. Stalled cairns have a central passageway flanked by a series of paired transverse stones that separate the side spaces into compartments that reminded early investigators of horse stalls; the earliest versions of this tomb type are found in Caithness, they consist of no more than four stalled compartments.
In Orkney, the tombs became more elaborate. The transverse stones rise to a height of 2 metres and the walls still rise to a height of 2.5 metres. Like most tombs in Orkney, the original roof is gone, replaced by a modern hangar-like structure that protects the site; the nature of the original roof is unclear. Alternatively, it may have been vaulted like Maeshowe to a height of as much as 5 metres; the cairn appears to have been intentionally filled with debris after hundreds of years of usage beginning early in the third millennium BC. The size and complexity of the interior of the cairn must have exerted a powerful influence on those entering it. Castleden describes it this way: Walking into the monument is a little like walking into a miniature church, the straight central aisle flanked on each side by pillar-like slabs and culminating in a shrine-like end compartment at the western end; the stalls or bays on the north side of the chamber were fitted with low stone benches or shelves on which the bones of ancestors were laid out.
The cairn was protected by an oval barrow 33 metres long and 13 metres wide. The barrow is supported by three concentric stone casing walls that appear to have overlapped each other to form a step-like structure; some of the stones in the walls are laid at angles to each other, forming decorative patterns that echo the incised rims found on some Unstan ware bowls, examples of which were found in the tomb. These patterns are part of the architectural design of the walls, meant to be seen. Unstan ware is named after the Unstan Chambered Cairn on the Mainland of the Orkney Islands. Unstan, where the style of pottery was first found in 1884, is a fine example of a stalled chambered tomb, encased like Midhowe in a circular barrow. Unstan ware is found in tombs tombs of the Orkney-Cromarty type; these include the so-called Tomb of the Eagles at Isbister on South Ronaldsay, Taversoe Tuick and Knowe of Yarso on Rousay. Midhowe is distinguished from other tombs of its type by having a horned forecourt adjacent to the long axis of the barrow on the north side.
Extension of the curvature of the surviving "horns" of the structure suggests an original diameter of as much as 70 metres, indicating a ceremonial space capable of holding hundreds of people. Midhowe represents an example of collective burial common to the Orkney-Cromarty tombs; the remains of at least 25 individuals were discovered in the tomb. Seven of the twelve chambers have side shelves- the bodies were found in groups of two to four on six of the shelves. Several of the skeletons were in a crouched position on the shelves, with their backs to the side wall and heads resting against the supporting pillars. Other groups of bones had been heaped into the centers of the shelves or swept under them, suggesting that earlier burials had been moved to accommodate ones. In a few cases only the skulls were present, in one instance the long bones had been piled together with the skull placed on top. Bones from a variety of animals were found as well; these include ox, skua, buzzard, eagle and carrion-crow.
Fish bones from bream and wrasse were present. Bream are not found this far north today, suggesting that the waters around Orkney during the Neolithic must have been several degrees warmer than today. Ring of Brodgar Standing Stones of Stenness Maeshowe Prehistoric Orkney Timeline of prehistoric Scotland Oldest buildings in the United Kingdom Castleden, Rodney; the Stonehenge People: An Exploration of Life in Neolithic Britain 4700-2000 BC. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7102-0968-9. Childe, V. Gordon. Illustrated History of Ancient Monuments: Vol. VI Scotland. Edinburgh: Her Majesty's Stationery Office. Hedges, John W.. Tomb of the Eagles: Death and Life in a Stone Age Tribe. New York: New Amsterdam. ISBN 978-0-941533-05-8. Henshall, Audrey; the Chambered Cairns, in: Renfrew, Colin The Prehistory of Orkney BC 4000–1000 AD. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 978-0-85224-456-2. Laing, Lloyd. Orkney and Shetland: An Archaeological Guide. Newton Abbott: David and Charles Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7153-6305-8.
Ritchie, Graham & Anna. Scotland: Archaeology and Early History. New York: Thames and Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-27365-4. Ritchie, Anna. Prehistoric Orkney. London: B. T. Batsford Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7134-7593-7. Midhowe Chambered Cairn, Historic Scotland
Heart of Neolithic Orkney
Heart of Neolithic Orkney refers to a group of Neolithic monuments found on the Mainland, one of the islands of Orkney, Scotland. The name was adopted by UNESCO when it proclaimed these sites as a World Heritage Site in 1999; the site of patrimony consists of four sites: Maeshowe – a unique chambered cairn and passage grave, aligned so that its central chamber is illuminated on the winter solstice. It was looted by Vikings. Standing Stones of Stenness – the four remaining megaliths of a henge, the largest of, 6 metres high. Ring of Brodgar – a stone circle 104 metres in diameter composed of 60 stones set within a circular ditch up to 3 metres deep and 10 metres wide, forming a henge monument, it has been estimated. Skara Brae – a cluster of eight houses making up Northern Europe’s best-preserved Neolithic village. Ness of Brodgar is an archaeological site between the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness that has provided evidence of housing, decorated stone slabs, a massive stone wall with foundations, a large building described as a Neolithic "cathedral".
Although it is not part of the World Heritage Site, the Ness of Brodgar "contribute to our understanding of the WHS" according to Historic Scotland, which manages most of the site. In 2008, UNESCO expressed concern about plans by the local council to "erect three large 72 metres wind turbines to the north-west of the Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brogdar" that might damage the site. Banknotes of Scotland Prehistoric Scotland Timeline of prehistoric Scotland Oldest buildings in Scotland Oldest buildings in the world
Skara Brae is a stone-built Neolithic settlement, located on the Bay of Skaill on the west coast of Mainland, the largest island in the Orkney archipelago of Scotland. Consisting of eight clustered houses, it was occupied from 3180 BC to about 2500 BC. Europe's most complete Neolithic village, Skara Brae gained UNESCO World Heritage Site status as one of four sites making up "The Heart of Neolithic Orkney".a Older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids, it has been called the "Scottish Pompeii" because of its excellent preservation. In the winter of 1850, a severe storm hit Scotland, causing over 200 deaths. In the Bay of Skaill, the storm stripped the earth from a large irregular knoll known as "Skerrabra"; when the storm cleared, local villagers found the outline of a village, consisting of a number of small houses without roofs. William Watt of Skaill, the local laird, began an amateur excavation of the site, but after four houses were uncovered, the work was abandoned in 1868; the site remained undisturbed until 1913, when during a single weekend the site was plundered by a party with shovels who took away an unknown quantity of artefacts.
In 1924, another storm swept away part of one of the houses and it was determined the site should be made secure and more investigated. The job was given to the University of Edinburgh’s Professor V. Gordon Childe, who travelled to Skara Brae for the first time in mid-1927. Skara Brae's people were makers and users of grooved ware, a distinctive style of pottery that appeared in northern Scotland not long before the establishment of the village; the houses used earth sheltering. They were sunk into mounds of pre-existing prehistoric domestic waste known as middens; the midden provided the houses with a stability and acted as insulation against Orkney's harsh winter climate. On average, each house measures 40 square metres in size with a large square room containing a stone hearth used for heating and cooking. Given the number of homes, it seems that no more than fifty people lived in Skara Brae at any given time, it is by no means clear what material the inhabitants burned in their hearths. Gordon Childe was sure that the fuel was peat, but a detailed analysis of vegetation patterns and trends suggests that climatic conditions conducive to the development of thick beds of peat did not develop in this part of Orkney until after Skara Brae was abandoned.
Other possible fuels include animal dung. There is evidence. At some sites in Orkney, investigators have found a glassy, slag-like material called "kelp" or "cramp" that may be residual burnt seaweed; the dwellings contain a number of stone-built pieces of furniture, including cupboards, dressers and storage boxes. Each dwelling was entered through a low doorway that had a stone slab door that could be closed "by a bar that slid in bar-holes cut in the stone door jambs". A sophisticated drainage system was incorporated into the village's design, it included a primitive form of toilet in each dwelling. Seven of the houses have similar furniture, with the beds and dresser in the same places in each house; the dresser stands against the wall opposite the door, was the first thing seen by anyone entering the dwelling. Each of these houses had the larger bed on the right side of the doorway and the smaller on the left. Lloyd Laing noted that this pattern accorded with Hebridean custom up to the early 20th century suggesting that the husband's bed was the larger and the wife's was the smaller.
The discovery of beads and paint-pots in some of the smaller beds may support this interpretation. Additional support may come from the recognition that stone boxes lie to the left of most doorways, forcing the person entering the house to turn to the right-hand, "male", side of the dwelling. At the front of each bed lie the stumps of stone pillars that may have supported a canopy of fur. One house, called House 8, has no dresser, it has been divided into something resembling small cubicles. When this house was excavated, fragments of stone and antler were found, it is possible that this building was used as a house to make simple tools such as bone needles or flint axes. The presence of heat-damaged volcanic rocks and what appears to be a flue, support this interpretation. House 8 is distinctive in other ways as well, it is a stand-alone structure not surrounded by midden, instead it is above ground and has walls over 2 metres thick. It has a "porch" protecting the entrance; the site provided the earliest known record of the human flea in Europe.
The Grooved Ware People who built Skara Brae were pastoralists who raised cattle and sheep. Childe believed that the inhabitants did not practice agriculture, but excavations in 1972 unearthed seed grains from a midden suggesting that barley was cultivated. Fish bones and shells are common in the middens indicating. Limpet shells are common and may have been fish-bait, kept in stone boxes in the homes; the boxes were formed from thin slabs with joints sealed with clay to render them waterproof. This pastoral lifestyle is in sharp contrast to some of the more exotic interpretations of the culture of the Skara Brae people. Euan MacKie suggested that Skara Brae might be the home of a privileged theocratic class of wise men who engaged in astronomical and magical ceremonies at nearby Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stenness. Graham and Anna Ritchie cast doubt on this interpretation noting that there is no archaeological evidence for this claim, although a Neolithic "low road" that goes from Skara Brae passes near both these sites and ends at the ch
Pottery is the process of forming vessels and other objects with clay and other ceramic materials, which are fired to give them a hard, durable form. Major types include earthenware and porcelain; the place where such wares are made by a potter is called a pottery. The definition of pottery used by the American Society for Testing and Materials, is "all fired ceramic wares that contain clay when formed, except technical and refractory products." In archaeology of ancient and prehistoric periods, "pottery" means vessels only, figures etc. of the same material are called "terracottas". Clay as a part of the materials used is required by some definitions of pottery, but this is dubious. Pottery is one of the oldest human inventions, originating before the Neolithic period, with ceramic objects like the Gravettian culture Venus of Dolní Věstonice figurine discovered in the Czech Republic dating back to 29,000–25,000 BC, pottery vessels that were discovered in Jiangxi, which date back to 18,000 BC.
Early Neolithic pottery artefacts have been found in places such as Jōmon Japan, the Russian Far East, Sub-Saharan Africa and South America. Pottery is made by forming a ceramic body into objects of a desired shape and heating them to high temperatures in a kiln and induces reactions that lead to permanent changes including increasing the strength and solidity of the object's shape. Much pottery is purely utilitarian, but much can be regarded as ceramic art. A clay body can be decorated after firing. Clay-based pottery can divided in three main groups: earthenware and porcelain; these require more specific clay material, higher firing temperatures. All three are made for different purposes. All may be decorated by various techniques. In many examples the group a piece belongs to is visually apparent, but this is not always the case; the fritware of the Islamic world does not use clay, so technically falls outside these groups. Historic pottery of all these types is grouped as either "fine" wares expensive and well-made, following the aesthetic taste of the culture concerned, or alternatively "coarse", "popular" "folk" or "village" wares undecorated, or so, less well-made.
All the earliest forms of pottery were made from clays that were fired at low temperatures in pit-fires or in open bonfires. They were hand undecorated. Earthenware can be fired as low as 600°C, is fired below 1200°C; because unglazed biscuit earthenware is porous, it has limited utility for the storage of liquids, eating off. However, earthenware has a continuous history from the Neolithic period to today, it can be made from a wide variety of clays, some of which fire to a buff, brown or black colour, with iron in the constituent minerals resulting in a reddish-brown. Reddish coloured varieties are called terracotta when unglazed or used for sculpture; the development of ceramic glaze which makes it impermeable makes it a popular and practical form of pottery. The addition of decoration has evolved throughout its history. Stoneware is pottery, fired in a kiln at a high temperature, from about 1,100°C to 1,200°C, is stronger and non-porous to liquids; the Chinese, who developed stoneware early on, classify this together with porcelain as high-fired wares.
In contrast, stoneware could only be produced in Europe from the late Middle Ages, as European kilns were less efficient, the right sorts of clay less common. It remained a speciality of Germany until the Renaissance. Stoneware is tough and practical, much of it has always been utilitarian, for the kitchen or storage rather than the table, but "fine" stoneware has been important in China and the West, continues to be made. Many utilitarian types have come to be appreciated as art. Porcelain is made by heating materials including kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between 1,200 and 1,400 °C; this is higher than used for the other types, achieving these temperatures was a long struggle, as well as realizing what materials were needed. The toughness and translucence of porcelain, relative to other types of pottery, arises from vitrification and the formation of the mineral mullite within the body at these high temperatures. Although porcelain was first made in China, the Chinese traditionally do not recognise it as a distinct category, grouping it with stoneware as "high-fired" ware, opposed to "low-fired" earthenware.
This confuses the issue of. A degree of translucency and whiteness was achieved by the Tang Dynasty, considerable quantities were being exported; the modern level of whiteness was not reached until much in the 14th century. Porcelain was made in Korea and in Japan from the end of the 16th century, after suitable kaolin was located in those countries, it was not made outside East Asia until the 18th century. Before being shaped, clay must be prepared. Kneading helps to ensure an moisture content throughout the body. Air trapped within the clay body needs to be removed; this is called de-airing and can be accomplished either by a machine called a vacuum pug or manually by wedging. Wedging can help produce an moisture content. Once a clay body has been kneaded and de-aired or wedged, it is shaped by a variety of techniques. After it has been shaped, it is dried and fired. Greenware refers to unfired objects. At sufficient moisture content, bodies at this stage are in their most plastic form (as they are soft and mal