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Via, Stones Of Via

Chambered Cairn (Neolithic)(Possible)

Site Name Via, Stones Of Via

Classification Chambered Cairn (Neolithic)(Possible)

Alternative Name(s) Loch Of Clumly

Canmore ID 1621

Site Number HY21NE 3

NGR HY 2600 1602

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/1621

Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Orkney Islands
  • Parish Sandwick
  • Former Region Orkney Islands Area
  • Former District Orkney
  • Former County Orkney

Archaeology Notes

HY21NE 3 2600 1602.

(HY 2600 1602) Stones of Via {NR}

Enclosure {NR}

OS 6" map, Orkney, 2nd ed., (1903).

This chambered tomb , which may have been of Maes-Howe type, now consists of ' ... seven large blocks of stone, which have obviously formed the chamber of a cairn or mound, now destroyed. According to a description of 1839- 41, they are "placed nearly in the centre of an old circular enclosure, 275 paces in circumference" (NSA 1845). The latter, which can still be traced, though only by surface changes in the ground, ... measures 61 ft by 52 ft, ... the inner end of a passage to the chamber can no longer be made out.

Four of the stones, two still standing and two prostrate, have served as supports "three feet in height" (F W L Thomas 1852) for a massive covering-slab or capstone, measuring 5 1/2 ft by 4 1/2 ft by 15 ins, which now lies against them in a tilted position, one side resting on the ground. Just beyond the fallen side of the capstone lie what are apparently the broken halves of a single stone which has been about 3 1/2 ft long, by nearly 3 ft wide and 13 to 14 ins thick. A number of smaller stones can be seen within or around the larger (RCAHMS 1946)'. The site is obviously greatly ruined, and it is probable that even fewer of the stones are in situ than has been supposed: indeed, none of them may be in situ. (A S Henshall 1963)

New Statistical Account (NSA) 1845; F W L Thomas 1852; RCAHMS 1946; A S Henshall 1963.

The doubtful remains of a chambered cairn situated on a plateau at about 100 ft OD. The 'old circular enclosure' (New Statistical Account [NSA] 1845) has been ploughed under: its SW extremity is just traceable by a cultivation terrace.

The 'Stones of Via' are as described and planned by Henshall, but seem to bear little resemblance to the remains of a chamber.

Resurveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (NKB) 18 May 1966.

NSA 1845.

Chambered cairn of uncertain type.

J L Davidson and A S Henshall 1989

'The site appears to have been surrounded by a ditch and bank which are now largely ploughed out. The cist is located in the south east quadrant at the foot of the bank on the outer edge of the ditch....... From the remaining slabs it would appear that the cist could have measured about 0.7m by 1.5m.'

Letter: J B Henry, Broadlie Road, Neilston, Glasgow, October 1991.

Scheduled as 'Stones of Via, enclosure and stone setting, Loch of Clumly... the remains of a prehistoric stone setting, lying just off-centre within a very extensive but now much flattened oval embankment. The stone setting, which comprises a massive stone slab and a group of six large blocks set in the ground, forms the most visible element of the monument.'

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 10 February 2003.

Activities

Project (September 2005 - December 2005)

HY 260 160 Gradiometry and resistance, combined with topographic survey, were undertaken between September and December 2005 over c 1ha, covering the Scheduled area known as the Stones of Via (HY21NE 3).

The site comprises the remains of a prehistoric stone setting lying within the remnants of a ploughed-out enclosure. Interpretation of this monument is unclear, although it has been suggested that the stones are the remains of a severely damaged chambered cairn.

The data did not show any responses clearly associated with the Stones of Via, although the stones appear to lie on the southern edge of an area of increased magnetic response which may be archaeologically significant.

Several anomalies were also detected in the gradiometer survey to the W of the stones, which may be related to the monument.

Both the gradiometer and resistance surveys show hints of the oval enclosure recorded on the 1st edition OS map; the responses are ephemeral, making it difficult to clearly categorise the anomalies as being due to a ditch or a bank. However, the topographic survey was able to record the presence of this enclosure, and would appear to suggest that the enclosure forms the boundary of a shallow bowl-shaped hollow, although whether this is natural or anthropogenic

is unclear.

The geophysical survey also located a clearly defined ring-ditch anomaly, c 6m in diameter, which correlates with the location of a ploughed-out burial mound (HY21NE 4).

What is clear from the survey, in particular in the resistance data, is damage to the buried archaeological deposits caused by later rig and furrow cultivation, and possibly modern ploughing.

Reports lodged with Orkney SMR and NMRS.

Sponsor: HS.

S Ovenden 2005

Resistivity (September 2005 - December 2005)

HY 260 160 Gradiometry and resistance, combined with topographic survey, were undertaken between September and December 2005 over c 1ha, covering the Scheduled area known as the Stones of Via (HY21NE 3).

Reports lodged with Orkney SMR and NMRS.

Sponsor: HS.

S Ovenden 2005

Magnetometry (September 2005 - December 2005)

HY 260 160 Gradiometry and resistance, combined with topographic survey, were undertaken between September and December 2005 over c 1ha, covering the Scheduled area known as the Stones of Via (HY21NE 3).

Reports lodged with Orkney SMR and NMRS.

Sponsor: HS.

S Ovenden 2005

References

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