The Links of Notland is such an amazing place for archaeology. It has a huge neolithic settlement, site of the discovery of the Westray Wife stone figurine:
It has Bronze Age and Iron Age settlements, a teardrop-shaped well, a sauna and all manner of bone tools, decorations, beads and ornate pottery. It’s a dramatic place:
Today I’ve got the privilege of being shown around by Hazel, one of the archaeologists here and she shows me the Bronze Age building they are currently excavating. There seem to be hearths, doors, stone troughs lined with clay and complex structures and finds everywhere. Then she points out an upright stone which has a ‘waist.’ It’s planted inside the building in the floor. Suddenly I can see them everywhere; upright stones with hourglass shapes jump out at me as my pattern recognition goes into overdrive.
They look just like the bollards on the docks at Stromness used to tie the mooring ropes to the ferry. “We think they were used to tie the roof on,” she says. Of all the places in Bronze Age UK you might need to have mooring ropes securing your roof to large stone bollards in the floor, Orkney is the most likely.
This is Orkney; hold onto your roof.