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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 644404

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes


HY31SW 61 3766 1270

See also HY31SW 11, HY31SW 12, HY31SW 62.

For comparable settlements at Skara Brae (Mainland), Rinyo (Rousay) and Pool (Sanday), see HY21NW 12.00, HY43SW 20 and HY63NW 17 respectively.

'The first season of major excavation commenced this spring after trial excavation had revealed the remains of a large, late Neolithic settlement, being severly damaged through annual ploughing. Four structures have been recognised in a confined area of investigation, being part of a larger settlement complex lying adjacent to the Loch of Harray. Large amounts of grooved ware, flint and bone have be en recovered, together with stone axes, skail knives and a macehead. An important discovery is that of worked pitchstone, being the first examples from Orkney. A final season of excavation is planned for the coming spring.'

C Richards 1986.

'A second season of excavation revealed ten stone constructed houses situated on the NE tip of the Stenness promontory overlooking the Loch of Harray. The settlement complex covers an area approximately 60m by 80m. The structural preservation is variable across the site with houses constructed adjacent to the loch being protected by the formation of a positive lynchet, as opposed to badly eroded examples lying further into the cultivated area.

Three main phases of construction have been discovered. First, the erection of a large oval building, approximately 14m by 11m, having a side entrance and external casing wall. The internal arrangement consisted of six rectangular recesses set into the inner wall and a hearth situated to the right of the entrance. A cist, with cover slab, was located in a central position directly in line with the entrance. Second, at least five smaller houses were constructed around the large structure, all of which conform to the traditional design of a single outer wall, two opposed internal recesses and end dresser.

The final phase is represented by a house erected on existing occupation deposits, having a single outer wall built on a clay foundation. Internal stone furniture is constructed through the later technique of upright stone slabs.

Throughout the entire settlement a complex series of ditches and drains have been uncovered. Large quantities of Grooved Ware pottery, worked flint and stone artifacts have been recovered. A final season of excavation will be undertaken in 1988.'

C Richards 1987.

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