Orkney's Neolithic past is to feature in the cover story in National Geographic's August issue, in particular Ness of Brodgar which now seems certain have been built centuries before Stonehenge.

The discovery of the Stone Age temple on the west of the Orkney mainland has helped to reshape our understanding of ancient Britain.

Now award-winning ­journalist and travel writer Roff Smith has visited the site for National Geographic and his article 'Before Stonehenge' highlights the research of archaeologist Nick Card and his team.

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Their new understanding of the the finds on the Ness of Brodgar, a thin strip of land between the Harray and Stenness lochs, and nearby Neolithic structures helps place Orkney as a trade centre with a society rich and advanced enough to significantly impact the art and culture of the Britain.

He writes: "Five thousand years ago the ancient inhabitants of Orkney - a fertile, green archipelago off the northern tip of modern-day Scotlan - erected a complex of monumental buildings unlike anything they had ever attempted before. The imposing walls they built would have done credit to the Roman centurions who, some 30 centuries later, would erect Hadrian's Wall."