Shifting Sands

Links of Noltland, Westray

By Hazel Moore Graeme Wilson

Format: Paperback

Links of Noltland on Westray, Orkney, is home to a prehistoric landscape dating back 5000 years. This publication documents findings at this site, including the 'Westray Wife' - recognised as the earliest depiction the human form in Scotland.

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Historic Environment Scotland

Historic Environment Scotland is a lead public body established to investigate, care for and promote Scotland's historic environment. They take on the responsibilities of Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments, which has been managing and recording the historic environment for more than a century. Their books deliver wonderfully illustrated and immaculately researched titles to anyone with an interest in Scotland's history and heritage.

Product Description


Links of Noltland is one of the most important Neolithic and Bronze Age settlements in Scotland. Contained within this uniquely preserved fragment of prehistoric landscape are the 5000-year-old houses, fields and burials of the first farmers and their descendants. The site lies on the exposed coastline of Westray in Orkney and was buried beneath sand dunes. With the rapid onset of erosion these remains are now exposed and at extreme risk of being lost forever.

A major programme of fieldwork commissioned by Historic Scotland is now being undertaken by EASE Archaeology. Discoveries include a Neolithic farmstead, field walls, cultivation remains and artefact-rich middens, together with six Bronze Age buildings and a contemporary cemetery. 

Shifting Sands documents some of the most remarkable discoveries including the ‘Westray Wife', a Neolithic stone figurine, now recognised as the earliest depiction of the human form known from Scotland and the ‘Cattle Skull' building with its foundation deposit of large skulls built into the walls. It also describes the Bronze Age remains, which represent the largest and most complete settlement of this date known in Orkney. 

This project is radically changing our perceptions of life during the third and second millennia BC in Scotland and has relevance for studies of the period throughout Britain and Western Europe. This publication covers the archaeological discoveries, together with specialist analysis of the artefacts recovered during the excavations.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Paperback
Imprint Historic Environment Scotland
Publication Date 15 Apr 2015
ISBN 9781849170512
Number of Pages 124

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