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Rousay, Knowe Of Ramsay

Chambered Cairn (Neolithic)

Site Name Rousay, Knowe Of Ramsay

Classification Chambered Cairn (Neolithic)

Canmore ID 2637

Site Number HY42NW 22

NGR HY 4004 2800

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2021.

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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

HY42NW 22 4004 2800

(HY 400 280) "Knowe of Ramsay", an Orkney-Cromarty stalled cairn, near the edge of one of the natural terraces above the shore overlooking the "Knowe of Lairo" (HY32NE 6). It is now a low grass-grown mound with a hollow down the centre from which some flagstones protrude . It had much the same appearance before excavation in 1935, when it was found that it had already been severely robbed and disturbed. The cairn, with its major axis NW-SE, is 103' long; the SE end, which contains the entrance passage, is square, 15' in width. The sides diverge to give a maximum width of 24' and then converge into the rounded NW end. It is edged by a wall face of horizontally laid stones, greatly dilapidated but surviving to a height of 4'2" on the SW side; there is no second wall-face. Against the W side of the NW end is a rough block of masonry, possibly part of an unfinished outer casing to the cairn, and at the SE end on the E side a wall 7'9" long abuts the cairn at right angles. The passage is 6'5" long and 1' 8" wide, with a maximum height of 2'4". The chamber, 88' long and from 3'11" to 6'8" wide, is divided into 14 compartments by pairs of transverse slabs, 2'6" - 4'9" high. The end of the chamber is formed by a large stone on edge. A small stone cist was found near the SW corner of the fifth compartment from the entrance. Finds from the site included: about 6 small sherds of reddish ware, a scraper and 5 pieces of flint, human bones very broken and decayed and numerous animal bones.

J G Callander and W G Grant 1936; RCAHMS 1946; A S Henshall 1963.

The remains of a stalled cairn at HY 4004 2800, generally as described by Henshall. Only 5 stones on edge of the chamber are now visible with the merest traces of the edging wall. The wall at right angles to the SE is no longer visible. Surveyed at 1:10,000 and at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (ISS), 9 October 1972.


Field Visit (1941)

Visited by Childe in 1941.

V G Childe 1942

Field Visit (September 1980)

As described OS; now very insignificant.

Information from Orkney SMR (RGL) Sep 80.


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