Links of Noltland
Links of Noltland is the archaeological site of a Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 village near Grobust Bay on the north coast of Westray
Westray is one of the Orkney Islands in Scotland, with a population of around 550 people. Its main village is Pierowall, with a heritage centre, the ruined Lady Kirk and ferries to Papa Westray.-Geography and geology:...

 in Orkney, Scotland.
Excavations at the site in the 1980s found a Neolithic building, which is now in the care of Historic Scotland
Historic Scotland
Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government, responsible for historic monuments in Scotland.-Role:As its website states:...

 who are funding further excavation. In 2009 the Westray Wife
Westray Wife
The Westray Wife is a small Neolithic figurine, in height, carved from sandstone that was discovered during an Historic Scotland dig at the Links of Noltland, on Westray, Orkney, Scotland, in the summer of 2009...

 was discovered, a lozenge-shaped figurine that is believed to be the earliest representation of a human face ever found in Scotland. The face has two dots for eyes, heavy brows and an oblong nose and a pattern of hatches on the body could represent clothing. Archaeologist Richard Strachan described it as a find of "astonishing rarity".

There may have been several phases of occupation, as the figurine may have been carved 2500 - 3000 BCE and one structure has been dated to c. 2000 BCE. Other finds include polished bone beads, tools, and grooved-ware pottery. The full extent of the site is believed to exceed the size of Skara Brae
Skara Brae
Skara Brae is a large stone-built Neolithic settlement, located on the Bay of Skaill on the west coast of Mainland, Orkney, Scotland. It consists of ten clustered houses, and was occupied from roughly 3180 BCE–2500 BCE...

 on the Orkney mainland. The ruins are being backfilled to protect them from winter storms.

Another 2009 discovery is that of a large building for collective use described as a "village hall". The structure overlooks the main settlement and would have been about 20 metres (65.6 ft) wide and had walls 3 metres (9.8 ft) thick. Other finds are revealing a remarkably detailed picture of life in the settlement over a long period of time spanning the Neolithic and early Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

. It is clear that the residents farmed crops such as barley
Barley is a major cereal grain, a member of the grass family. It serves as a major animal fodder, as a base malt for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various health foods...

, kept livestock such as cattle and sheep and were partial to venison
Venison is the meat of a game animal, especially a deer but also other animals such as antelope, wild boar, etc.-Etymology:The word derives from the Latin vēnor...


Nearby are Queen o' Howe broch
A broch is an Iron Age drystone hollow-walled structure of a type found only in Scotland. Brochs include some of the most sophisticated examples of drystone architecture ever created, and belong to the classification "complex Atlantic Roundhouse" devised by Scottish archaeologists in the 1980s....

, The Lum Head chambered tomb and the ruins of Noltland Castle
Noltland Castle
Noltland Castle is located on the island of Westray in the Orkney Islands of Scotland. It dates mainly to the later 16th century, although it was never fully completed...



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