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Knowe Of Rowiegar

Chambered Cairn (Neolithic), Souterrain (Prehistoric)

Site Name Knowe Of Rowiegar

Classification Chambered Cairn (Neolithic), Souterrain (Prehistoric)

Canmore ID 2159

Site Number HY32NE 1

NGR HY 3733 2978

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating


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

  • Council Orkney Islands
  • Parish Rousay And Egilsay
  • Former Region Orkney Islands Area
  • Former District Orkney
  • Former County Orkney

Archaeology Notes

HY32NE 1 3733 2978.

(HY 3733 2978) Mound (NAT)

OS 6" map, Orkney, 2nd ed.,(1900).

Knowe of Rowiegar, an Orkney-Cromarty type stalled cairn, now a grass-covered mound with a few slabs projecting near the centre.

The mound was excavated by W G Grant in 1937, who found that the SE end had been so badly damaged that it obscured all trace of the entrance, and that an earth-house had been constructed in the easternmost half of the cairn. Other Iron Age building, datable by pottery (J Phemister 1942) and other relics, lay on and around the cairn.

The mass of masonry (the unhatched area in Fig.26, A S Henshall 1963) which lies at the SE end of the cairn is too dilapidated for identification but from it springs a thick wall which curves towards the shore. A similar wall springs from the NW corner of the cairn, at which point the absence of a bond can be clearly seen. Similar walls occur at Mid Howe (HY33SE 1).

On the NE side of the cairn, near the NW end, some further remains have been uncovered. These consist partly of masonry foundations and partly of slabs set on edge. There is also a socket-stone, apparently intended to receive the pivot stone of a door. Possibly to be connected with this occupation are the buildings which seem to have risen on the summit of the cairn at some time after its upper parts had fallen into ruin. Numerous finds from the site, including pottery and stone implements, are in the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland (NMAS).

RCAHMS 1946; J Phemister 1942; A S Henshall 1963.

The Knowe of Rowiegar, a stalled cairn, is as described and illustrated by the above authorities.

Resurveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (NKB) 11 June 1967.

Rectangular Orkney-Cromarty cairn with stalled chamber. Radiocarbon dates from unstated contexts:

Cattle bone 2355 +/- 60 bc (Q-1221)

Deer bone 2055 +/- 60 bc (Q-1227)

J L Davidson and A S Henshall 1989.


Field Visit (1941)

Visited by Childe in 1941.

V G Childe 1942

Orkney Smr Note (September 1980)

Artefacts : NMA EO 670-724

Human rems : Dept of Anatomy, University of Aberdeen

Animal rems: Royal Scottish Museum


An Orkney-Cromarty stalled cairn in the E half of which an

Iron Age structure of earthhouse type had been built.

RCAMS visited in July 1936 at which time it was a large

grassy mound with stones projecting from the top; then excavated

by W G Grant and account revised March 1938. There is no

separate excavation report published, but a specialist report on

the mineralogical analysis of the pottery appeared in 1942.

[R1], [R2]

The cairn is rectangular, 90ft NW-SE x 18ft 6in to 21ft 6in;

external facing wall survives to 2ft 3in high. Ten compartments

out of a probable original twelve survive, some with low shelves

along the walls. Two thick walls spring from the W and SE

corners and run down to the shore. [R3], OS visit Jun 67.

C14 dates of 2055 +- 6 BC and 2355 +- 60 BC (calibrated to

2600 +- 110 BC and 3035 +- 110 Bc) from ox and red deer bones.


As described, but dilapidated.

Information from Orkney SMR (RGL) Sept 80.


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