Accessibility

Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

Knowes Of Trotty

Barrow(S) (Prehistoric), Cist (Period Unassigned), Mound(S) (Period Unassigned), Bead(S) (Amber)

Site Name Knowes Of Trotty

Classification Barrow(S) (Prehistoric), Cist (Period Unassigned), Mound(S) (Period Unassigned), Bead(S) (Amber)

Alternative Name(s) Huntiscarth

Canmore ID 2035

Site Number HY31NW 42

NGR HY 342 174

NGR Description Centred HY 342 174

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/2035

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

Toggle Aerial | View on large map

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Orkney Islands
  • Parish Birsay And Harray
  • Former Region Orkney Islands Area
  • Former District Orkney
  • Former County Orkney

Archaeology Notes

HY31NW 42 centred 342 174.

(Centred HY 342 174) Knowes of Trotty (NR)

(Undated) annotation on OS map.

Knowes of Trotty, a group of eleven mounds, are situated at the foot of the steep west slopes of the Ward of Redland, and vary from 30 ft in diameter by 2ft in height to 61ft by 55ft by 8 to 9ft in height (No.1).

The latter, at the NW end of the group, stands on a possibly natural platform 3ft high and 93ft by 79ft. When investigated by Petrie in 1858, a short cist was found containing bones, thought to be burnt, and four gold discs, a number of beads and irregularly-shaped pieces of amber (G Petrie 1862). The relics are in the Nat Mus Ants Scot. Most of the mounds appear to have been disturbed. A ridge 3 to 6ft broad extends from the slopes of mound no.11 to form a roughly oblong enclosure with a gap in the SE.

RCAHMS 1946.

Knowes of Trotty, eleven barrows, generally as described by the RCAHMS, situated on conspicuous eminences at about 200ft OD.

The largest mound (no.1), at HY 3417 1761, measures 18.0m in diameter and is surrounded by a berm 1.0m wide: the smallest of the eleven (no.7) is c.6.0m in diameter.

A twelfth mound, most probably a barrow, 8.0m in diameter and 0.7m high, with a central depression lies on lower ground at HY 3414 1740. Three low circular heather-covered mounds, between mounds nos.8 and 9, measure 3.0m to 4.0m in diameter and 0.4m high.

Resurveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (NKB) 15 June 1966.

Fifteen pieces of amber, of Middle to Late Bronze Age date, were recovered from the corner of a cist in the largest barrow of the cemetery, in association with cremated bones and four sheet gold disks (National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland [NMAS] Accession no.EQ 130). Two of the beads are medium-sized, flat, thin disk/short cylinder beads with round edges, circular in cross-section and rounded rectanglur longitudinally. These measure 10mm and 12mm in diameter /length and 5mm and 6mm in thickness. There are nine small to medium-sized V-perforated buttons, which are rectangular in cross-section and triangular in longitudinal section, two medium to large spacer plates, measuring 16mm and 36mm in length by 18mm and 19mm in breadth and 4mm and 5mm in thickness respectively, and two large hook pendants, each measuring 30mm by about 9mm and 5mm thick.

C Beck and S Shennan 1991

HY 342 174 (centre) A topographic and geophysical survey, covering c 8ha, was carried out over the extended barrow cemetery (NMRS HY31NW 42) in July 2001. Magnetometry was used over most of the area, with selective areas being covered by resistivity. Preliminary results appear to confirm the presence of several very slight mounds, and mounds which are no longer extant. The results also indicate pits, probably containing cremations, which lie around the mounds, particularly focusing on the largest mound.

Report lodged with Orkney SMR and the NMRS.

Sponsors: Historic Scotland, Orkney Islands Council, Orkney College, University of Manchester.

J Downes, N Card and A Challands 2001

HY 342 174 In July 2001 geophysical and topographic survey was undertaken at the Knowes of Trotty (HY31NW 42; DES 2001, 71), showing that this impressive Bronze Age barrow cemetery was much larger and more complex than previously thought. Many new features were identified, including pits, areas of burning, pyre sites, enclosures and a ring-ditch feature.

Seven small trenches were opened in 2002 over a variety of anomalies to test some of the geophysical results and preliminary interpretations. In each trench archaeological features relating to the cemetery were encountered. This ranged from an Early Bronze Age building at the N end of the cemetery, to pyre sites, pits, and a very truncated kerbed cairn. In one trench, between Mounds 8 and 9, seven cists, all containing cremations, were uncovered. A polished stone axe lay between two of the cists. A trench at the base of Mound 1 showed that a natural drumlin had been sculptured and revetted at its base with a large stone kerb.

Archive to be deposited in Orkney SMR and the NMRS.

Sponsors: HS, Orkney Islands Council, Orkney College.

J Downes and N Card 2002

'The Orcadian' reported the discovery of gold leaf being found at the site in 1858.

HY 342 174 Following on from previous survey and small-scale trial trenching, the Knowes of Trotty structure (HY31NW 42), partially uncovered in Trench B in 2002 (DES 2002, 87), was further investigated in June and July 2005 to establish its nature. The structure was revealed as oblong in shape, at least 6.8 x 3.6m, with entrances to the NE and SW. At least four separate phases of occupation and alteration were identified. Orthostatic divisions and a large rectangular central hearth were revealed from an earlier phase.

In order to provide a more secure context for the grave assemblage recovered from Mound 1, the 19th-century trench was re-excavated. Although badly damaged by rabbits and the previous investigations, the complex nature of Mound 1 was revealed. A thick capping of subsoil covered a carefully built stone cairn. The central cist, c 1.5 x 0.64m by 0.6m deep, sealed by this stone cairn, was beautifully constructed of substantial upright slabs and was flanked by a pair

of edge-on orthostats, c 1.5m high, midway along the length of the cist. These uprights gave the appearance of a hybrid stalled tomb/cist. Cremated bone, amber beads, a spacer plate and gold fragments were recovered from within the cist.

Report lodged with Orkney SMR and NMRS.

Sponsors: HSA, Orkney College, Orkney Islands Council, Orkney Archaeological Trust.

N Card and J Downes 2005

HY 342 174 The building at the N end of the cemetery, partially excavated in 2002 and 2005 was further investigated in July and August 2006 to establish its nature. Due to its proximity to other elements in the cemetery this structure was initially interpreted as a 'cult house' associated with the cemetery. It would now appear to be Neolithic in date and has marked similarities with early Neolithic structures at Stonehall and the Knap of Howar. In 2006 the interior of this building was further investigated. Features pre-dating the large rectangular hearth were partially revealed. The trench was also extended to the N and E in order to define the extent of this structure and investigate surrounding geophysical anomalies. The NE entrance led into a small paved annexe with external work areas including an area for pottery manufacture

Report lodged in the Orkney SMR and the NMRS.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland; Orkney College; Orkney Islands Council; Orkney Archaeological Trust.

Nick Card, Jane Downes and Paul Sharman, 2006.

Activities

Field Visit (28 August 1993)

During the course of the Orkney Barrows Project, 15 mounds were recorded at Knowes of Trotty.

[Individual NGRs were not recorded for the mounds]

Knowes of Trotty 1: Measurements not recorded.

Knowes of Trotty 2: Measurements not recorded.

Knowes of Trotty 3: Measures 13.9m by 11.9m. Height 1.48m. The visibility of this mound is greatly enhanced by the siting of the mound on a drumlin. The slanted sides of the mound and drumlin gives the mound a cone effect at present. It is visible for between 5-10km to the W, for 1km to the S and for 1km upslope to the E.

Knowes of Trotty 4: Diameter 9.5m. Height 10.4m. This mound is not prominent.

Knowes of Trotty 5: Measures 9.3m by 9.2m. Height 0.53m. This mound is not prominent.

Knowes of Trotty 6: Measures 6.5m by 6.3m. Height 0.32m. This mound is masked by 1 from the W, visible for 1km to the S and upslope to the E.

Knowes of Trotty 7: Measures 4.6m by 4.7m. Height 0.27m. This mound is not prominent.

Knowes of Trotty 8: Measures 11.6m by 11.4m. Height 1.61m. This mound, like some of the others, is very prominent/visible at present, as it appears as very green grass amongst brown heather. Vegetation probably showed up contrasts like this at the time - although maybe not at this site. It is visible from the W and S for 1km and upslope to the E.

Knowes of Trotty 9: Measures 19.4m by 19.0m. Height 1.94m. There is a small bowl (Mound Number 16) built on the foot of mound 9. It measures 4.6m by 5.8m, it appears to be undamaged, is only visible from the S close up and from upslope E. Contemporary visibility is good as, like many of the mounds, it shows green amongst the brown. Mound 9 is visible from the W for 5-10km, and from the S for 1km.

Knowes of Trotty 10: Diameter 11.8m. Height 1.6m. Visible from the W for 5-10km, and from the S for 1km.

Knowes of Trotty 11: Measures 10.8m by 10.5m. Height 1.6m. Some large, bulky stones are visible. Part of this mound has been removed. It was noted as being quite prominent.

Knowes of Trotty 12: Measures 4.65m by 4.6m. Height 0.24m. It is visible for less than 300m.

Knowes of Trotty 13: Measures 4.3m by 3.9m. Height 0.2m. Visibility is poor as the mound is small.

Knowes of Trotty 14: Measures 5.4m by 4.0m. Height 0.3m. Visibility is poor as the mound is small.

Knowes of Trotty 15: Measures 6.0m by 5.9m. Height 0.4m. It is visible for less than 300m.

Information from the Orkney Barrows Project (JD), 1993

Publication Account (1996)

The Ward of Redland is a conspicuous hill, about 200m high, and it is noticeable that the barrowbuilders had no interest in height or maximum visibility, for the mounds are ranged in two rows along the foot of the hill. There are eleven earthen mounds, the largest of which is situated closest to the farm of Netherhouse and is about 18m in diameter and 3m high; it covered a cist, excavated in 1858, which contained cremated bones and a stone slab on which lay four gold discs and 21 amber beads and pendants (these are all in NMS). The thin gold discs are thought to have been covers for buttons, and the technique used in their decoration links them with goldwork produced in southern England; the gold sheeting has been hammered on a wooden mound to produce concentric circles of relief decoration. Analysis of the gold itself suggests a Scottish origin, however,and they may have been the creation of a goldsmith trained in southern England but working in Scotland. The amber was probably imported from the Baltic, but again via some English source, because these particular shapes of bead belong to a type of necklace that was made in amber in southern England but in jet normally in Scotland. These finds belong to a context in the early 2nd millennium BC, and they suggest not only that this was the first barrow of the group to be raised but also that it commemorates someone of wealth and high social status.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: Orkney’, (1996).

Excavation (July 2006 - August 2006)

HY 342 174 The building at the N end of the cemetery, partially excavated in 2002 and 2005 was further investigated in July and August 2006 to establish its nature. Due to its proximity to other elements in the cemetery this structure was initially interpreted as a 'cult house' associated with the cemetery. It would now appear to be Neolithic in date and has marked similarities with early Neolithic structures at Stonehall and the Knap of Howar. In 2006 the interior of this building was further investigated. Features pre-dating the large rectangular hearth were partially revealed. The trench was also extended to the N and E in order to define the extent of this structure and investigate surrounding geophysical anomalies. The NE entrance led into a small paved annexe with external work areas including an area for pottery manufacture

Report lodged in the Orkney SMR and the NMRS.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland; Orkney College; Orkney Islands Council; Orkney Archaeological Trust.

Nick Card, Jane Downes and Paul Sharman, 2006.

References

MyCanmore Image Contributions


Contribute an Image

MyCanmore Text Contributions