Several years ago we made a trip to Shetland and some of the Orkney Islands, and it was a trip well worth making. One of the things we got to do was poke around a number of Neolithic sites, many of which were underground homes, if not outright collections of houses. One of the remarkable things about these houses, because that’s what they were, was the fact that many were erected before the first pyramids were put up—on some very lonely islands in the North Atlantic. Pretty neat stuff. The same is true for what are called passage graves—burial chambers with long passages from the entrance into the central chamber. The engineering on some of these is impressive indeed.
So now a group calling themselves the Scottish Ten have undertaken an ambitious project—to digitalize the interiors and exteriors of a passage grave called Maeshowe. It’s part of a larger project to digitalize images of ten Unesco World Heritage Sites—the five in Scotland, and five elsewhere. Good for them. The project is still under way, but you can see the results of labours thus far here.
And here’s what the underground site at Maeshowe looks like:
The engineering on some of these passage graves, by the way, is pretty astonishing. Check out the Winter Solstice discussion. Maeshowe has something similar. The notion that some of these were constructed before the Pyramids went up makes me wonder–how did these people, wherever they came from, on some lonely outpost of the North Atlantic far removed from any sort of normal commerce routes, know how to do this stuff?