Nick Card, an archaeologist who has excavated widely throughout Britain, spoke on “The Secrets of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site and the Ness of Brodgar” at the Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 Explorers Club Washington Group annual black tie dinner at the Cosmos Club.
This was a joint dinner meeting with the Antarctican Society and the Society of Woman Geographers.
The Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site is renowned for some of the most iconic prehistoric monuments of Atlantic Europe: the great stone circles of the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness; Maeshowe, a monumental chambered tomb; and the exceptionally well preserved village of Skara Brae.
Recent research and excavation in this area is recasting our views of this period 5,000 years ago. In particular is the stunning discovery of a unique temple complex at the Ness of Brodgar. The Ness structures are not only magnificent in their scale, complexity and symmetry but also in their mysterious artwork. And yet this is still only the tip of this archaeological iceberg with less than 10% of the site explored.
These excavations are revealing a complex and dynamic society, aspects of which predate and perhaps influenced Stonehenge. Neolithic Orkney was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1999, recognized by the American Institute of Archaeology as one of the great discoveries in 2009 and named the 2011 Current Archaeology Research Project of the Year. It won the international Andante Travel Archaeology Award in 2012.
Nick Card’s first experience of the Orkney Islands and its exceptional archaeology was as a student. After falling in love with the islands he moved there almost 25 years ago.
Over the last 14 years he has managed a wide range of projects for the Orkney Archaeological Trust and latterly as Senior Projects Manager for the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology at Orkney College, University of Highlands and Islands. His research covers all aspects of the prehistory of Britain, but especially the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Since the inception of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site in 1999 Card has been involved in research and fieldwork relating to the sites: as director of several excavations; as coordinator of the geophysics program;and as a major contributor to the Research Agenda.
Over the last 9 years he has explored and gradually unraveled the unique and mysterious Ness of Brodgar Neolithic complex that lies at the centre of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney. In order to make archaeology and the Ness as accessible as possible Card has authored a wide range of both academic and popular papers and articles, and lectured widely including at the British Museum, the Royal Archaeological Institute, Oxford University and many local schools and societies, and recently in America.
He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquarians of Scotland; a Member of Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site Research Committee; an Honorary Research Fellow of the University of the Highlands and Islands; and Chairman of the Orkney Archaeology Society.