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Kirkwall, St Magnus Cathedral

Hogback Stone (Early Medieval)

Site Name Kirkwall, St Magnus Cathedral

Classification Hogback Stone (Early Medieval)

Canmore ID 2485

Site Number HY41SW 10.01

NGR HY 4494 1087

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Orkney Islands
  • Parish Kirkwall And St Ola
  • Former Region Orkney Islands Area
  • Former District Orkney
  • Former County Orkney


St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, hogback gravestone fragment

Measurements: L 0.37, W 0.24m, H 0.18m

Stone type: sandstone

Place of discovery: HY 4494 1087

Present location: The Orkney Museum, Kirkwall

Evidence for discovery: found amongst builder’s rubble beneath the floor of the cathedral in 1913. It is likely to have come from the nearby graveyard of St Olaf’s Kirk, because the building of the cathedral began in the mid twelfth century.

Present condition: broken and worn.


This fragment comes from the higher, presumably head, end of a gravestone with a plain rounded ridge and three rows of tegulae. The tegulae are rectangular with trimmed corners.

Date: eleventh century.

References: RCAHMS 1946, I, 47; Lang 1974, 227-8 (Kirkwall 1).

Compiled by A Ritchie 2017

Archaeology Notes

HY41SW 10.1 4494 1087.

Found in 1913 during restoration of St Magnus Cathedral among debris from under the chancel floor. Now in Tankerness House Museum, Kirkwall.

RCAHMS 1946; J T Lang 1974.


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