More #Neolithic sites on #Orkney, #Scotland

I promised more, and believe me, there’s plenty more!

First up is Unstan Chambered Cairn.


This is only a little way along the road from Maeshowe, and the second of 4 chambered cairns we explored. If you recall, I was a little apprehensive about going into Maeshowe, being somewhat claustrophobic. Having survived the experience and found it not too bad, I was feeling braver.

Just as well, as this entrance tunnel, although not as long, is markedly lower.

Probably built about 5,000 years ago as a communal burial place, it’s an unusual example of a stalled cairn, with internal divisions or stalls, and a single side cell.

Or the more amusing version…

This was the first site where a collection of pottery bowls was found, and subsequently where other fragments were discovered they are known as Unstan Pottery.

I was definitely feeling bolder about entering these cairns, but I was still happy to next visit something that didn’t involve squatting down just to get inside!

The Barnhouse Settlement, is STILL within a couple of miles of all the sites from my last posts,

and this is such a rich area for prehistoric sites that a fresh dig has just opened up another.

Barnhouse Village was discovered as recently as 1984

Once again, the houses on this site were built over 5000 years ago

All things considered, they were built to last!


Flint and stone tools were found in the area, as well as a piece of pitchstone thought to have come from the Isle of Arran, over 250 miles and two sea crossings away!

Another amazing experience, standing amongst the remains of these buildings where people led their lives so very long ago.


  1. Wonderful post, Deborah. I really enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on firefly465 and commented:
    More neolithic sites from Orkney mainland by Deborah. I’m so proud to be Orcadian.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That was very cool. Life was tough back then but they simply accepted it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And it appears perhaps a richer, more fulfilling life for themselves than previously believed.


  4. I just love places like this. Great pictures and fascinating article.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And Orkney is full of places like this ❤


      1. I must visit one day.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a pretty elaborate place. Went into some cairns when we were in Ireland that were much more primitive. Gotta see this sometime.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the Orkney sites are very well preserved – wait until you see my post of Skara Brae!


  6. A wonderful post. I can’t wait to see this in person. Loved the photos too, Deborah, especially the one of the half-hidden leap. Amazing. 🙂 Thanks for all the info!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ll no doubt be as entranced as I was – ‘awesome’ is a word bandied around a lot these days, but these sites are truly worthy of the description.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I am curious what your science fiction interest to Orkney/Scotland might be?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Much more my fantasy interest – the scenery, the myths and legends that abound, and the sheer inspiration of being out in the wilds.
      Of course, there is a fair-sized genre of time-travel books set in Scotland, most notably Outlander.


  8. Thanks for the info. I will check that book out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And the TV show – at least 4 seasons now, I think.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: