Scotlands History

Orkney Venus

The ‘Orkney Venus’ or ‘Westray Wife’ is a 5000-year-old stone figure discovered by archaeologists during an excavation at Links of Noltland in 2009. She is the earliest representation of a human form ever found in Scotland.

The Links of Noltland prehistoric settlement in Westray is a Neolithic and Bronze Age landscape thought to be as significant as Skara Brae.

The tiny sandstone figure, measuring just 3.5cm by 3cm, was uncovered by archaeologist Jakob Kainz.

It looked like the stone had been carved. As some of the mud crumbled off he saw an eye, then another and a nose, then a whole face staring back. It was one of those ‘eureka’ moments.

None of the archaeology team have seen anything like it before, it’s incredibly exciting. The discovery of a Neolithic carving of a human was quite a moment for everyone to share in.

Richard Strachan, project manager and senior archaeologist, Historic Scotland cultural resources team.

  • Image of a stone figurine

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