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Westray, Vere Point

Chambered Cairn (Neolithic), Cist (Prehistoric)(Possible), Enclosure (Period Unknown)

Site Name Westray, Vere Point

Classification Chambered Cairn (Neolithic), Cist (Prehistoric)(Possible), Enclosure (Period Unknown)

Canmore ID 2859

Site Number HY45SE 19

NGR HY 45841 50460

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Orkney Islands
  • Parish Westray
  • Former Region Orkney Islands Area
  • Former District Orkney
  • Former County Orkney

Archaeology Notes

HY45SE 19 4583 5045.

(HY 4583 5046) Ancient Building (NAT) (Site of)

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

A mound opened many years before 1928 by a part of visitors, revealed a carefully built dry-stone chamber, subsequently adapted as a shelter for farm-stock.

The mound seems to have had an original diameter of about 55', a height of 5', and a retaining wall. The occupier of the nearby croft in 1928 stated that, as far as he could remember, the chamber was not lofty, nor had it any covering slabs or roof, but was filled with debris in which were a number of human skeletons. He also pointed out several stones which he said were in their original positions, but the remains generally are now so much altered that it was impossible to obtain any definite idea of the original character of the structure.

At a distance of 42' to the SE, two stones 4' 3" apart and obviously set in some relation to each other, just pierce the turf, and may very well have some connection with the mound.

Miss Henshall classified the site as an uncertain cairn.

RCAHMS 1946, visited 1928; A S Henshall 1963.

This is an Orkney-Cromarty stalled cairn surviving as a turf covered mound c.19.0m in diameter and c.1.0m maximum height, which has been mutilated by excavation from the NW side.

In the centre are five upright slabs oriented N-S and protruding from 0.2m to 0.7m through the turf, indicating at least two stalls in one of which, according to the farmer at Vere, three skeletons were found during an excavation undertaken about 1906. No entrance passage or kerb is visible. Towards the NE side of the cairn the tops of two parallel slabs can be seen, oriented E-W and 0.9m apart. They measure respectively 1.0m and 0.7m in length and are possibly the remains of an intrusive cist.

The cairn lies towards the N side of an roughly oval enclosure formed by the remains of a turf-covered wall, now 0.2m maximum height, which was robbed by the present tenant's grandfather to help to build the modern field wall nearby. This wall incorporates two turf-covered stony mounds of uncertain purpose, the most southerly measuring c.6.5m diameter and the other c.7.5m N-S by c.6.5m transversely, and both c.0.2m high. Another similar mound c.9.0m N-S by c.7.0m transversely lies aprroximately 10.0m S of the cairn. Within the enclosure are the two stones 4' 3" apart described by RCAHMS. It cannot be ascertained whether the cairn, wall and stones are contemporary, but for a similar association see HY63NE 3 and HY63NE 5.

Surveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (NKB) 28 June 1970.

Chambered cairn, enclosure and mounds.

Located >20m from the coast edge

These sites are not now clearly visible and may have been removed by farming. See MS 1031/2 for more details.

Orkney Coastal Zone Assessment 1998.


Field Visit (June 1981)

Vere (ORK 52) HY 4583 5045 HY45SE 19

This Orkney-Cromarty stalled tomb survives as a mound 19m in diameter and 1m high, in front of Vere farmhouse. Some of the internal slab-divisions can be seen, and the mound lies within an enclosure covering approximately 0.3ha, the wall of which incorporates two smaller mounds (et Egmondshowe, Sanday; RCAHMS 1980, p.11, nos. 1 and 7).

RCAHMS 1983, visited June 1981.

(RCAHMS. Notebook, Orkney, No. 2, 29 June 1928; RCAHMS 1946, ii, p. 353, No. 1044; Henshall 1963, 243; OR 759).

Field Visit (1998)

A disturbed, partially grass-covered cairn lies within an enclosed field. The cairn was opened in the 1920's and the description of the findings has been taken to indicate that the site is a burial monument of the Orkney-Cromarty type with a stalled or tripartite chamber (Davidson & Henshall, 1989, 167, no.52) The cairn measures some 19m in diameter and has been reduced to 1m or so in height. Orthostatic stones protrude from the centre although the surrounding turf has regenerated around the disturbed area and little can be discerned of the structure. It is alleged that three skeletons were found within the cairn around the year 1906. A possible intrusive cist burial is indicated by two slabs at the northeast side of the cairn. The cairn was said to be set within an oval enclosure which also contained two further stony mounds; a third mound was located at a distance of some 10m to the south of the chambered cairn. These sites are not now clearly visible and may have been removed by farming.

Moore and Wilson, 1998

Coastal Zone Assessment Survey


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