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Rare evidence of 5,000-year-old fabric discovered in Orkney

Ness of Brodgar in OrkneyImage copyright
Dr Scott Pike

Image caption

Ness of Brodgar is a large Neolithic site in Orkney

Evidence of woven textile from 5,000 years ago has been found for only the second time in Scotland.

The piece of Neolithic fabric has not survived, but archaeologists did find the impression it left on the wet clay of a pot millennia ago.

The discovery was made by archaeologists examining markings on pottery from Ness of Brodgar in Orkney.

Evidence of Neolithic woven textile in Scotland was first found at Flint Howe, near Stranraer, in 1966.

An impression of the fabric had also been spotted on a piece of clay.

Image copyright

Image caption

An impression on clay of the Orkney woven fabric

The Orkney find was made by a project started at the Archaeology Institute of the University of the Highlands and Islands in 2019.

Organic material from prehistory only survives under certain conditions, and any tools used to make the Orkney fabric have not been found.

Ness of Brodgar is the location of a well-preserved and sophisticated complex of stone buildings.

The site was built and occupied by people more than 5,000 years ago.

Archaeological excavations began at Ness of Brodgar more than 15 years ago and the site covers an area of about six acres (2.5 ha).


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