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Standing Stone(S) (Prehistoric)

Site Name Orwell

Classification Standing Stone(S) (Prehistoric)

Canmore ID 27912

Site Number NO10SW 8

NGR NO 1494 0432

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating


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

  • Council Perth And Kinross
  • Parish Orwell
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Perth And Kinross
  • Former County Kinross-shire

Archaeology Notes

NO10SW 8 1494 0432 to 1495 0431.

(NO 1494 0432 and NO 1495 0431) Standing Stones (NR)

OS 6" map (1971)

Both of these standing stones are of whinstone. The western one, rugged and angular, is about 7 1/2' high, while the other, smooth-sided, is about 9'8" high. Coles notes a quartzite pebble, 5" x 2 7/8", used as a pounder, found between the stones.

RCAHMS 1933, visited 1927; F R Coles 1906

Standing stones, as described above. No information found regarding the pounder.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 19 December 1963

Excavation at the bases of these two standing stones was carried out prior to the re-erection of the W stone, which had fallen, and the embedding of both stones in cement. The original position of the fallen stone could be detected only as a slight hollow in the natural gravel but as this corresponded with the position of the stone on Coles' plan the stone could be re-positioned comparatively accurately.

A cremation deposit was found in an insubstantial stone setting in a scoop in the natural gravel some 0.5m S of the stone. The E stone had been set up in a hole 1.5m x 1.4m x 0.75m. Within the pit on the SW side of the stone there was an unusual two-storeyed cremation deposit; the lower cremation was contained within a rough setting of stones with one side formed by the standing stone itself, and was covered by a flat slab. On this slab and again surrounded by a setting of small stones was the upper cremation. It seems most likely that these were inserted into the hole at the time of the erection of the stone. Another cremation was found at the lip of the stone hole on the SE side.

The discovery of cists and cremation patches in the same field in the early 19th century suggests that the stones have acted as a focus for such burials.

Flint flakes, found with the cremated burials, were donated to the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland (NMAS). J N G Ritchie 1972; NSA 1845 (J Wemyss); NMAS 1973

The standing stones, as described, are situated in a cultivated field. No further information.

Visited by OS (DWR) 22 February 1974


Field Visit (1 August 1927)

Standing Stones at Orwell.

These two standing stones are situated almost 400 feet above sea-level, on the crest of a slightly rising ground about 100 yards north of the roadway running past Orwell farm. The western one is a rough, undressed boulder of hard whinstone with its base set in a packing of small stones. It faces north and south and has an inclination to north and east. It is 7 ½ feet in height, 3 feet 8 inches across the broad faces, and has an average thickness of about 2 feet with a girth of 10 ¼ feet at 3 feet above the base. There are no markings. The second stone is 47 ¾ feet to the east-south-east and is a huge, smooth-sided boulder with a somewhat rounded top. It rises to a height of slightly over 9 feet above ground, has an average girth of 10 feet, and is set up with its major axis almost due north and south. It is undressed and shows no markings.

"In the same field stone coffins have occasionally been turned up by the plough; and, about the beginning of the nineteenth century, the ground was in many places dug up by the neighbouring proprietor, when quantities of bones much decomposed and mixed with charcoal were discovered" (1).

RCAHMS 1933, visited 1 August 1927.

(1) Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., xl (1905-6), pp. 293-5.

Publication Account (1987)

This pair of shapely stones stands on a slight rise; in the 19th century, several cists and burials were discovered in the course of ploughing nearby, and the stones were clearly a focal point for burial and ritual in the bronze age. The stones are unusual in having been explored in recent times too, for in 1972 following the toppling of the western stone the area round each was excavated and the western stone subsequently re-erected. This stone (2.8 m in height and 2.95 m in girth at the base) had been set in a small hollow, and a small deposit of cremated bone was found a little to its south-west The eastern stone is an impressive whinstone monolith (3.8 m in overall height), set in a socket measuring about 1.5m in diameter and 0.75 m deep. A remarkable find was the discovery of two cremation deposits within the stone-hole on the southwest side, presumably inserted during the erection of the stone; they had been carefully interred one above the other with a flat slab separating them, and they represented the remains of several people, as well as bones of pig and dog.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: Fife and Tayside’, (1987).


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