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Rousay, Rinyo

Settlement (Neolithic), Beaker (Pottery)(Bronze Age)

Site Name Rousay, Rinyo

Classification Settlement (Neolithic), Beaker (Pottery)(Bronze Age)

Alternative Name(s) Braes Of Rinyo; Bigland Farm

Canmore ID 2717

Site Number HY43SW 20

NGR HY 4398 3224

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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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

HY43SW 20 4398 3224

For comparable settlements at Skara Brae (Mainland), Barnhouse (Mainland) and Pool (Sanday), see HY21NW 12.00, HY31SW 61-2 and HY63NW 17 respectively.

(HY 440 321) This Neolithic settlement, type site for the Rinyo-Clacton Culture, was excavated in 1938 and again in 1946 by Professor V G Childe and W G Grant. It was found to be very similar to Skara Brae (HY21NW 12.00), 15 miles away to the SW. The finds consisted of numerous pot-sherds, including some of beaker ware, 250 flint implements including a polished knife; stone axes and balls, an 'ovoid B' stone mace-head, a mortar and potlids, most of which were presented to the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland (NMAS).

V G Childe 1939; RCAHMS 1946, visited 1936; V G Childe 1949; R W Feachem 1963.

The Beaker sherd held from Rinyo is held in the NMAS under accession number HDA 99. It is assigned to Clarke's N3 ('Late Northern British') group.

[Illustrated: chronological significance discussed].

D L Clarke 1970.

The Rinyo settlement at HY 4398 3224 has been filled in and only a few slabs on edge and some fragments of drystone walling protrude to mark the site.

Surveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (ISS) 18 October 1972.


Excavation (June 1938 - July 1938)

Excavated by Childe and W G Grant in 1938. Further excavations took place in 1946.

V G Childe and W G Grant 1938

Excavation (July 1946 - August 1946)

Excavated by Childe and W G Grant.

V G Childe and W G Grant 1949

Magnetometry (26 June 2010 - 27 June 2010)

HY 4398 3224 Approximately 1.2ha of gradiometer survey

was undertaken on 26–27 June 2010 over the site of the

Neolithic settlement of Rinyo, as part of the second season

of the ‘Orkney – Gateway to the Atlantic Project’. The survey

covered the scheduled area and extended across the terrace

on which the site is located, in order to determine the nature

and extents of the deposits beyond those excavated in 1937–

38 and 1946 (Childe and Grant 1939; 1949).

The survey appears to have defined the extent of the

settlement, which covers an area of c2000 sqm, with

responses similar to those noted in the gradiometer surveys

around Skara Brae (HY21NW 12), suggesting further

structural remains as well as increased magnetic responses

probably resulting from Neolithic midden enhanced soils. A

number of anomalies suggestive of more modern disturbance

and drainage were noted at the periphery of the site, and

responses consistent with ploughing were visible across

much of the rest of the survey area.

Report: Orkney SMR and RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Orkney College, NABO and University of Bradford


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