Page last updated at 00:55 GMT, Friday, 16 October 2009 01:55 UK

Orkney Venus to face the public

Afra Mancini, 7, holding the Orkney Venus
The Orkney Venus, which is only 4cm tall, is known by locals as the Westray Wife

The earliest human figure to be found in Scotland is to go on temporary display at Edinburgh Castle.

The Orkney Venus, which was discovered a few weeks ago, is a 5,000-year-old female carving which has the UK's first known depiction of a person's face.

It will be exhibited for a fortnight from Monday.

Historic Scotland said children would be given free entry to the castle during the exhibition, which ends on Sunday 1 November.

Culture Minister Mike Russell, said: "It's great that people will have the chance to see this remarkable historical find for themselves, and I'm particularly delighted to be able to announce that children will be able to get into Edinburgh Castle for free while the exhibition is on.

Orkney Venus
The carving has the UK's first known depiction of a person's face

"We hope the tour will highlight Orkney as a visitor destination, and its wonderful archaeology, to Scots and visitors from overseas and encourage them to visit the islands and see their many attractions for themselves."

The carving was brought to Edinburgh for vital conservation work to protect it for the future, and so experts could carry out preliminary examinations.

The object, found this summer during the Historic Scotland excavation at the Links of Noltland, on the Orkney island of Westray, will then tour other venues.

The final stage will see its return to Orkney where it will go on temporary show at the Westray Heritage Centre.

The 4cm-tall carving, known by locals as the Westray Wife, will be on show in the ante-room of Edinburgh Castle's Laich Hall along with colourful panels giving information about how and when it was found.



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