Landscape Setting of the Ring

This was a place of change: the very shape of the land was altering and those who came here would have been aware of that.  It may have enhanced the feeling that this was a distinctive spot.  Lower sea-levels mean that the peninsula was originally wider and bounded by a rocky shore to the west where the Loch of Stenness was much smaller and comprised fresh water – the sea had yet to breach it.  To the east a boggy damp peatland lay where the Loch of Harray lies today.  Occasionally, during big storms, the sea would wash in and over time the water level rose and the waters became permanently salty.
This changing landscape reminded the Neolithic community that they were not in full control of the world in which they lived. Over time the peninsula became narrower, yet the central ridge along which they had built their great sites remained dry and accessible.