The Brodgar Graffiti Project –  Sunday 3rd Feb. 2019

By Bernie Bell, Images By Mike Bell

Well, not exactly, but reading of the St. Magnus Graffiti Project

got me thinking about all the graffiti I’ve noticed on the stones at the Ring of Brodgar (other archaeological sites are available), over the years.  Some of it dates  from way back, mostly due to the Victorian mania for putting your name on anything that stayed still long enough, and some, I’m sorry to say, are more recent. They form a very varied collection. There isn’t a lot to be said about them, so I’ll put together some photos, with captions/comments, for anyone who is interested.

Firstly, may I present……….The Ring of Brodgar

Brodgar Panorama M BellStarting from the entrance and walking clockwise ( of course….) – Robert- you really should know better!

Brodgar grafitti M Bell

This doesn’t look natural – were the dots made on purpose?  But why?  And…when? And, someone loved/loves  ‘R.M.’

And a mysterious symbol – maybe magicy?  Magic from which era though?

Brodgar circle and cross M Bell

We remembered seeing some runes on one of the stumpy stones, but couldn’t find which one, when a helpful visitor-lady pointed it out to us.  How old are they?  Are they very old, not so old?  Another Brodgar mystery.

An anvil – ironically enough, on a stone age monument. Maybe a blacksmith was here, visiting, and left the mark of his, or her, craft?

Brodgar graffiti anvil M Bell

I don’t know what these runes mean. I used to know how to read the runes in ‘The Lord of the Rings’, but that particular bit of knowledge has flown away. I hope it’s something benign, or amusing – I hope it’s not too rude!

Brodgar graffiti runes M Bell

The ‘work’ of WBK in 1873, and of R. Work in 19??

This way round……a magicy, vaguely oriental symbol?

Brodgar graffiti symbol A M Bell

Then this way round… resolves itself into initials, carved in the 19th century!

Brodgar graffiti symbol B M Bell

A recent, quite fresh one.  ‘GH 2016’ – you know who you are  – we don’t know who you are, but – WE FROWN UPON YOU!

Brodgar Graffiti recent M Bell


Brodgar graffiti heart M Bell

And, finally, someone came a long way, to desecrate the stones.

Brodgar graffiti M Bell

As you can see from the panorama at the beginning, it was a cold, snowy February day in Orkney, so, having got frozen through, we went into Stromness to Julia’s Bistro for macaroni cheese and chips – and a good warm!

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3 replies »

  1. Thanks for the slide show, Fiona – it helps to make some of the less defined ones, much clearer.
    And you ‘twizzled’ just right!

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