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Scotland’s earliest human face, the so-called “Orkney Venus” is to return to Orkney this summer as part of a tour of Scotland. The 5,000 year old figurine — known locally as the ‘Westray Wife’ – was discovered last year by archaeologists working on the Historic Scotland excavation at the Links of Noltland.
The figurine is the only known Neolithic carving of a human form to have been found in Scotland. Measuring 41mm by 31mm, the carving – which generated worldwide interest when it was discovered buried in the remains of a Neolithic farmhouse – will return to Orkney in early summer as part of a temporary exhibition.
The exhibition is part of a wider tour of Scotland which will also see it visit Stirling Castle, Kilmartin House and Museum in Argyll, and Urquhart Castle, on the banks of Loch Ness. It will initially go on display at the Westray Heritage Centre, and will stay for the summer season before moving to the Orkney Museum in Kirkwall in the autumn.
This little figurine was found at the Links of Noltland excavations, and seems to have the identical ‘eye/brows’ motif as the carvings found on the southernmost chambered cairn on the Holm of Papa Westray.