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Summers Dale

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

Site Name Summers Dale

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

Alternative Name(s) Summersdale; Garmiston

Canmore ID 2100

Site Number HY31SW 15

NGR HY 3474 1046

NGR Description Centred HY 3474 1046

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/2100

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

HY31SW 15 3474 1046.

(Group of five centred: HY 3474 1046) Graves (NR)

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

Eleven mounds, said to be the graves of men killed in the Battle of Summers Dale (HY31SW 14) in 1529.

The mounds may be earlier as two of them show possible cist slabs.

The mounds are from 12 to 34ft in diameter and not more than 3ft in height. Nearly all show traces of having been examined.

RCAHMS 1946.

Only seven grass and heather covered mounds of earth and stone are visible on a ridge, partly cultivated, partly moorland, at about 185ft OD, varying from 4.0 to 11.0m in diameter and 0.2 to 1.6m in height.

No cist-like constructions are visible, but the most southerly mound has a deep depression in its centre.

Their shape, size and topographical position suggest that they are probably tumuli.

Resurveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (NKB) 11 May 1966.

One of the 10 or 12 mounds ('the most southerly mound', recorded by the OS surveyor NKB), was excavated by Wainwright in 1960 and found to contain a short cist 2 to 2 1/2ft long and about 10 ins high. There was a scatter of calcined bones, within a radius of about 5ft, immediately above the top of the cist. This scatter lay above a layer of slabs beneath which were parts of an inhumation (skull, jaw, etc.) and more cremated bone. This layer, in turn, lay above a second layer of slabs, beneath which was the cist proper. The top half of the cist contained the incomplete remains of a skeleton, disarticulated before burial, with soil and cremated bone, and at the bottom of the cist was a layer of red and black burnt earth and calcined bones. The cist had been built on the original ground level and, to one side, there was another slab of stone, above and below which were more burnt bones.

The site, a round barrow, was filled in on the completion of the excavation.

Orkney Survey 1960 Wainwright Ms, notes etc. in possession of Ministry of Public Buildings and Works (HBM).

Activities

Excavation (1960)

One of the 10 or 12 mounds ('the most southerly mound', recorded by the OS surveyor NKB), was excavated by Wainwright in 1960 and found to contain a short cist 2 to 2 1/2ft long and about 10 ins high. There was a scatter of calcined bones, within a radius of about 5ft, immediately above the top of the cist. This scatter lay above a layer of slabs beneath which were parts of an inhumation (skull, jaw, etc.) and more cremated bone. This layer, in turn, lay above a second layer of slabs, beneath which was the cist proper. The top half of the cist contained the incomplete remains of a skeleton, disarticulated before burial, with soil and cremated bone, and at the bottom of the cist was a layer of red and black burnt earth and calcined bones. The cist had been built on the original ground level and, to one side, there was another slab of stone, above and below which were more burnt bones.

The site, a round barrow, was filled in on the completion of the excavation.

Orkney Survey 1960 Wainwright Ms, notes etc. in possession of Ministry of Public Buildings and Worksd (HBM).

Field Visit (11 May 1966)

Only seven grass and heather covered mounds of earth and stone are visible on a ridge, partly cultivated, partly moorland, at about 185ft OD, varying from 4.0 to 11.0m in diameter and 0.2 to 1.6m in height.

No cist-like constructions are visible, but the most southerly mound has a deep depression in its centre.

Their shape, size and topographical position suggest that they are probably tumuli.

Resurveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (NKB) 11 May 1966.

Field Visit (26 September 1993)

This cemetery contains a good variety of mound sizes, some of which are in fair condition. At the time of visit, high stock levels in the fields were observed.

Garmiston 1: Bowl-shaped. Diameter 10.0m. Height 1.3m. On a small ridge, visible on skyline for 1.5km to the S. Not visible to the N.

Garmiston 2: Bowl-shaped. Measures 10.0m by 9.2m. Height 0.45m. Very prominent on the horizon to N and NW for 1-2km, and not to E, S or W.

Garmiston 3: Small bowl. Measures 6.5m by 6.2m. Height 0.35m. Very prominent on the horizon to N and NW for 1-2km, and not to E, S or W.

Garmiston 4: Small bowl. Measures 5.7m by 5.4m. Height 0.3m. Less prominent than 1-3 as it is smaller.

Garmiston 5: Bowl-shaped. Measures 12.0m by 12.7m. Height 0.95m. Very prominent on the horizon to N and NW for 1-2km, and not to E, S or W.

Garmiston 6: Kerbed bowl. Measures 7.0m by 6.8m. Height 0.4m. Very prominent on the horizon to N and NW for 1-2km, and not to E, S or W.

Garmiston 7: This mound could not be located. May have been levelled.

Information from the Orkney Barrows Project (JD), 1993

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