Scotland to devise plan to preserve 5,000-year old Neolithic village from climate change

Climate change
Climate change

A five-year plan is to be devised to preserve from climate change one of the richest surviving Neolithic landscapes in Western Europe, already protected as one of Scotland’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Residents who live on the islands of Orkney, off the northeast coast of mainland Scotland, are to be asked for their views on how the 5,000-year old heritage site should be managed in the future.

The Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site comprises Europe’s best-preserved domestic settlement at Skara Brae, a chambered burial tomb incorporating 12th-century Viking carvings at Maeshowe, the Stones of Stenness circle and henge, and the 104-meter diameter Ring of Brodgar stone circle.

UNESCO inscribed the Heart of Neolithic Orkney in 1999 for the outstanding testimony the monuments bear to the cultural achievements of the Neolithic peoples of northern Europe.

A UNESCO World Heritage Committee report in 2019 warned that Orkney’s archaeological treasures are threatened by climate change, saying rising seas and higher rainfall mean the site is extremely vulnerable.

The heritage site is managed by public body Historic Environment Scotland (HES) along with Orkney Islands Council, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Alice Lyall, deputy head of world heritage at HES, said the site not only supports the local economy as a key driver for tourism to Orkney, but also plays an important role in shaping local identity.

“It’s important that the public have the opportunity to have their say as we begin development of our new management plan for the site,” she said.

The community consultation will drive forward a new five-year management plan for the heritage site, which will be published later in the year.

The Heart of Neolithic Orkney was the first cultural World Heritage Site to undergo a climate vulnerability assessment by UNESCO, following an initial trial in Western Australia. Enditem

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