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The Heart of Neolithic Orkney — 20 years of UNESCO World Heritage status

Back in August, children from Stenness Community School celebrated the 20th anniversary of the World Heritage designation of the Orkney neolithic sites. Today marks exactly 20 years ago since that designation was given.

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney site gaining World Heritage status from UNESCO.

The Heart of Neolithic Orkney site — which was granted world heritage status by UNESCO in 1999 — is comprised of Skara Brae, Maeshowe, the Stone of Stenness, the Watchstone, the Barnhouse Stone and the Ring of Brodgar, as well as a number of unexcavated burial, ceremonial and settlement sites.

They have long been recognised for their archaeological importance, and are considered an outstanding testimony to the cultural achievements of the Neolithic peoples of northern Europe.

Sandra Miller has been a ranger the World Heritage Site for 15 years. Speaking at the Ring of Brodgar today, she said:

“What the UNESCO designation means is that we’re being acknowledged for our universal value — on the world stage the sites that are part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney collectively show the achievements of the Neolithic people in northern Europe 5,000 years ago.

“There are over 1,150 UNESCO sites across the world — that changes every year because places are always being added — but it is an acknowledgement of the importance of these places to the history of humanity and of the story of earth itself.”