Perhaps Not Quite Ancient Treasure, But Today’s Handmade Necklaces Can Nevertheless Be Founded Upon Traditional Art
Handcrafted jewellery such as handmade necklaces are perfect for depicting our islands’ huge treasure chest of ancient art and monuments. Orkney jewelry often presents special collections based on this theme.
They include attributes from the wonderful craftsmanship of the Neolithic folks who left their mark on the ancient village of Skara Brae. These men and women loved art and ornaments. Their stone built dressers survive to this day. And magnificently decorated stones reveal the enigmatic emblems of these ancient people which are preserved crisp as the day they were carved.
This unique village was preserved for millennia under sand dunes until a tremendous storm revealed the cluster of homes once inhabited by early farmers. Handmade necklaces featuring the Skara Brae motif are some of the best selling handcrafted jewellery items.
Lately it has emerged that the great variety of ancient archaeology which draws people to the islands here in Orkney is simply the tip of the iceberg. You can also find possibly just as many monuments under the seas which surround Orkney. The 70 or so isles in the archipelago were once all joined together until mounting sea levels created the isles and skerries we see today. Sea levels were around three metres lower 5000 years ago in Neolithic times, even though the isles were already separate by then. Several of the tombs, houses and temples which lie near to the shore today were once inland.
Many of the buildings then on the shore must now have been covered by sea. A group of archaeologists, geo scientists and geographers have already been surveying the sea bed and have just identified what seems to be a henge monument under a loch (an oval enclosed by ditches and banks) very close to the famous Ring of Brodgar standing stones. And what looks to be a tomb much like Maeshowe burial cairn has been identified in a sheltered bay.
A lot more work needs to be done to find out just what these structures or features are. Divers will undoubtedly be sent down again to check out the stones coated in seaweed in waters that have very limited visibility. And sonar studies much like the geophysical surveys on land will look closer at what lies below the waves.
Much more inspiration for handmade necklaces similar to the Skara Brae design may perhaps be found eventually. Nevertheless the monuments and tombs will remain underwater keeping most of their secrets eternally.