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Comet Stone

Standing Stone (Prehistoric)

Site Name Comet Stone

Classification Standing Stone (Prehistoric)

Alternative Name(s) Ness Of Brodgar

Canmore ID 1700

Site Number HY21SE 13

NGR HY 2963 1331

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

HY21SE 13 2963 1331

(HY 2963 1331) Standing Stone (NR)

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

This standing stone, usually called by the comparatively modern name 'Comet Stone' stands, 5 ft 9 ins high by 2 1/2 ft by 11 1/2 ins thick, on a low, circular platform or mound measuring about 45 ft by 42 ft. It seems to have formed part of a group as, on the same platform, 8 ft 9 ins to the NW, is the stump of a second stone and, to the SW of that, the stump of a third.

RCAHMS 1946.

A standing stone, known locally as the 'Comet Stone', is as described by the RCAHMS. Beside it are the stumps of two others. The mound is c. 0.8m. high.

Resurveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (RB), 24 April 1966.

A description of this site is made in 'The Orkney Herald', February 21 1906.

M Howe 2006.

The three recorded stones define an axis at right angles to one another. The axis of the Comet Stone (Stone A) and a stump (Stub i), is aligned NW to SE. To the NW of the Comet Stone is a second stone (RCAHMS 1949) (Stone B), which is aligned NE to SW through the two further fragments or stubs (Stub i and ii).

The Comet Stone stands higher now than when first recorded (Orkney Herald 1906; RCAHMS 1946), being 1.88m high st the SE end and 1.68m at the NW end, presently sitting in a depression roughly 2.7m x 2.3m x 0.2m. Following the aligned axis for about 2.97m is the edge of Stub i, and from there it is 2.75m on the axis of Stone B to the NE to the edge of slab ii.

The fragments or stubs of stone are now more covered with vegetation (and more eroded), than when originally recorded. Stub i measures 73cm long by 23cm wide and now stands 29cm high, its depth being unknown. A further fragment of stone (stub ii) is situated 6.5m from the Comet Stone's E end and a few degress of the axis, whilst a third (stub iii) is level with the grass, has a smooth appearance and is not layered as the other stones are. Stub iii has a visible area of 19cm by 15cm, but careful prodding shows the top extends for at least another 4cm. 3.98m from the NE end of stub i is a prostrate slab a few degrees off the axis of stone B with only the very edges under grass. It measures 40cm by 36cm and is set at least 6cm in depth with possible stone fragments in a 4cm space below.

Information from M Howe via e-mail to RCAHMS, 9 August 2009.


Field Visit (1 May 1994)

Visited as part of the Orkney Barrows Project, the mound on which the stones stand measures 16.4m by 13.1m and is 0.55m in height. It is prominent, and forms part of the mound group at Brodgar.

Information from the Orkney Barrows Project (JD), 1994


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