Segments in this Video

Religion on Orkney (03:28)


The Ness of Brodgar on Orkney includes 14 massive stone structures, surrounded by a border wall with two stone circle monuments that date back to 3,500 B.C. Archaeologists are trying to determine if structure 10, the largest, was a temple. It is thought that the religion and culture of Neolithic Britain began in Orkney and spread elsewhere.

Boats on Orkney (02:25)

Neil Oliver and his team want to uncover how Neolithic people traveled to and from Orkney. Archaeologist Andy Torbert wants to build a boat Neolithic people could have used to cross the dangerous Pentland Firth. No archaeological evidence of boats has been found on Orkney and only log and animal hide boats were being used in Neolithic Europe.

Whaling on Orkney (04:18)

Many household items and tools made of whale bones were found at a domestic archaeological site. Whales are still common in the waters around Orkney Islands. Naturalist Chris Packham investigates if Stone Age hunters would have killed whales or waited for dead ones to wash ashore.

Stonework on Orkney (02:06)

Archeologist have found numerous stone tools and weapons at the Ness of Brodgar. Weapons were shaped by rubbing the stones with other stones or wood. Engineer Shini Somara makes an ax head using only stones.

Boat Building on Orkney (02:36)

Torbet meets with a prehistoric craft expert and local Orcadians to attempt to build a Neolithic boat. The base of the boat is made out of wood and covered in animal skin.

Temple on Orkney (01:56)

Archaeologist prepare to lift the foundation stones of structure 10, which is thought to be the Ness of Brodgar's temple. They find cattle bones, which appear to be deliberately placed there.

Beaching on Orkney (03:30)

Packham is investigating the number of whale strandings on Orkney to see if it could have been a viable source of whale bones for the ancient Orcadians. It is rather common today and would have been more frequent in the Neolithic period before the rise of commercial fishing.

Beliefs on Orkney (02:47)

Archaeologists lift more stones from the possible temple floor at the Ness of Brodgar. They find more bones, and some appear human.

Navigation on Orkney (03:19)

Torbet and the volunteers finish the wood base of the boat, cover it in cow hide, and waterproof it with cow fat. The Pentland Firth has severe tides because of water from the Atlantic Ocean and North Sea meeting. The ancient Orcadians probably used the moon to predict the tides.

Human Remains on Orkney (06:48)

Archeologist determine the bone from structure 10 is a 5,000-year-old human arm bone. Only a few human bones have been discovered at the Ness of Brodgar. Human bones have been found with animal bones on Orkney before with no discernible reason.

Sailing on Orkney (03:32)

Torbert and members of the local rowing club prepare to cross the Pentland Firth in the Neolithic boat. The crew evaluates the route based on the tides and prepare to leave from a secluded bay in the early morning.

Life on Orkney (03:44)

More than 16,000 human bones were found in a tomb on Orkney and are now held at a museum. The bones show a rough lifestyle and almost half suffered injury-causing violence. The bones might have been placed in the tomb because the people were revered.

Boat Trip from Orkney (07:49)

The crew prepares for the six-mile voyage across the Pentland Firth in the Neolithic boat. They make the crossing to mainland Britain in just under five hours.

Credits: Britain's Ancient Capital: Secrets of Orkney: Episode 2 (00:34)

Credits: Britain's Ancient Capital: Secrets of Orkney: Episode 2

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Britain's Ancient Capital: Secrets of Orkney: Episode 2

Part of the Series : Britain's Ancient Capital: Secrets of Orkney
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
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Andy Torbet and some local seafaring volunteers build a boat made of just willow and cow hide and set out to cross the dangerous Pentland Firth as the ancient Orcadians would have done. Neil Oliver investigates the extraordinary discovery of some human bones, Chris Packham goes in search of whales, and Shini Somara uncovers the powers of the tides.

Length: 52 minutes

Item#: FPT187516

ISBN: 978-1-64867-127-2

Copyright date: ©2017

Closed Captioned

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