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The Westray Wifey

The intriguing Dr. Alice Roberts introduced me to a windswept archeological dig in Scotland last night. Westray up in the Orkney Islands is a 5000 year old Neolithic village which is thought to be one of the oldest farming communities yet found in Britain. The dig has unearthed many interesting things including a stone wall with 40 cattle skulls built-in to the foundations, evidence that barley was being grown in an organised system of fields and this wonderful figure, the Westray Wifey

She is thought to be the oldest representation of a human figure found in Britain, and because she was found in a specific location in one of the homes, there is a suggestion that she is a goddess or has some unknown religious connotation, possibly connected with the abandonment of the village at some unknown point and for unknown reasons….

It’s typical and disheartening that religion always has to rear its ugly head as an explanation for everything. I would rather think of her as a child’s toy, carved by one of the farmers as they sat around the fire one evening talking about the days events and how they would manage to survive yet another Orkney winter.

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