The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian


Chambered Tomb


Older than Giza – ancient burial chamber revealed

There is a digital photo on line....

EVEN 5000 years ago, Britons were an understated bunch. About 250 years before work began on Egypt's ostentatious Great Pyramid of Giza, the early settlers of Orkney, off the north coast of Scotland, were building impressive stone chambers of their own - and burying them under mounds of dirt. Now, intensive laser scanning makes it possible to virtually peel away the mud, revealing one of those chambers in all its glory.

This is Maeshowe, a 3.8-metre-tall tomb chamber reached via a narrow passage 11 metres long. Maeshowe is one of several Neolithic monuments that comprise the Orkney UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was scanned by a team from the Glasgow School of Art's Digital Design Studio and the government agency Historic Scotland. The team is scanning 10 World Heritage Sites, five of which are in Scotland, for the Scottish Ten project. "We scanned Mount Rushmore [National Memorial] in the US in 2010," says Lyn Wilson of Historic Scotland.

All the sites are tourist attractions, which can make conserving them a challenge. The scans, accurate to within 6 millimetres, will form an invaluable record to monitor future wear and tear.
Not all damage made by visitors is unwelcome, though. A thousand years ago, Orkney was under Norwegian rule and Maeshowe was plundered. The robbers left behind the largest collection of runes known outside Scandinavia, carved into the stone. These, too, have been laser-scanned in sub-millimetre detail. That's pretty impressive for 1000-year-old graffiti
moss Posted by moss
28th April 2012ce

Comments (1)

Thanks for this - Scottish Ten Project web site at

More photos there.
mascot Posted by mascot
28th April 2012ce
You must be logged in to add a comment