Monday, April 9, 2012

Orkney Islands in Scotland

The Old man of Hoy: The Standing Stones of Stennes
Marwich Head and the Kitchener Memorial: St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall

postmarked in 1978 with a Great Britain 7 p 'Queen' stamp

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Orkney also known as the Orkney Islands is an archipelago in northern Scotland, 16 kilometres (10 mi) north of the coast of Caithness. Orkney comprises approximately 70 islands of which 20 are inhabited.

The name "Orkney" dates back to the 1st century BC or earlier, and the islands have been inhabited for at least 8,500 years. Originally occupied by Mesolithic and Neolithic tribes and then by the Picts, Orkney was invaded and forcibly annexed by Norway in 875 and settled by the Norse. It was subsequently annexed to the Scottish Crown in 1472, following the failed payment of a dowry for James III's bride, Margaret of Denmark.  Orkney contains some of the oldest and best-preserved Neolithic sites in Europe, and the "Heart of Neolithic Orkney" is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Heart of Neolithic Orkney refers to a group of Neolithic monuments found on the Mainland, one of the islands of Orkney, Scotland. One of the sits is in picture two above:
Standing Stones of Stenness - the four remaining megaliths of a henge, the largest of which is 6 metres (19 ft) high.

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