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Knowe Of Lairo

Chambered Cairn (Neolithic)

Site Name Knowe Of Lairo

Classification Chambered Cairn (Neolithic)

Alternative Name(s) Hullion; Frotoft

Canmore ID 2203

Site Number HY32NE 6

NGR HY 3988 2796

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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 6 3988 2796.

(HY 3988 2796) Knowe of Lairo (NR)

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

An Orkney-Cromarty type long horned cairn, 150 ft long (excluding the horns), lying on the edge of a terrace. It varies in height from 16 ft at the east end to 4 ft at the other; there have been horns at both ends but only the south horn survives. (See plan and full report in A S Henshall).

Finds from the cairn (in the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland [NMAS]) include a ground stone axe and pottery sherds.

W G Grant 1943; RCAHMS 1946; A S Henshall 1963.

The Knowe of Lairo is a chambered long cairn, as described and planned by Henshall. It has been greatly robbed and disturbed, especially on the north and west.

Resurveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (NKB) 14 June 1967.

Scheduled as Knowe of Lairo, long cairn.

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 26 April 1993.


Field Visit (1941)

Visited by Childe in 1941.

V G Childe 1942

Orkney Smr Note (September 1980 - 2007)

NMA EO 613-4

Human rems: Skull in Anthropological Museum, Marischal College,



Excavated 1936 by Grant, who did some consolidation with

cement inside the chamber. [R1]

Long horned cairn, 180ft x 72ft broad at E and 32ft at W,

16ft high at E reducing to 4ft at W, outer and inner wall-faces

visible at S side and E end. Passage from E end leads to chamber

in which human remains, pottery, stone axe were found. [R2]

Detailed description by Henshall, who reports that chamber

could still be entered although with difficulty. [R3]

As described by Henshall: much robbed and disturbed

especialy on N and W. OS visit Jun 67.

As described; passage still open but a good lamp would be

necessery to enter it. Sides of mound, which are very steep, are

being seriously damaged by rabbits and stock, causing erosion

which is especially bad on the S side near the E end.

Information from Orkney SMR (RGL) Sept 80.

Visitor numbers are increasing to this monument, as knowledge of its existence grows. It is not maintained. Information from Orkney SMR (Julie Gibson) 2007


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