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

Tomb of the Eagles

Chambered Cairn


Visited 2.6.12

After a very enjoyable hour or so at Banks Chamber Tomb I was really looking forward to my visit to the famous Tomb of the Eagles.

We parked in the large car park and wandered into the visitor’s centre. There were a few people around but not too many. Karen and Sophie looked around the shop whilst myself and Dafydd paid our money and entered a side room where we were given a talk about the site and what had been found. This is also the room which has the finds in glass cases.
The lady giving the talk took some objects out to show us (including the skulls) and we were allowed to hold a few stone items. There were several of us in the room and the talk was very interesting. I was hoping to be able to hold the famous polished ‘button’ but had to settle for looking at it through glass instead.

We then went into another room where we had an interesting talk on the brunt mound and Bronze Age building also discovered. I will certainly give more thought to burnt mounds in future! All questions asked were well answered and all the staff were very friendly.

We then went outside and it was a little daunting to see the sign which said the tomb was 1 mile away – I knew this meant a part-walk / part-carry with Dafydd! Lucky the weather was nice. Dafydd insisted on wearing his ‘burial chamber’ kit – head light and old clothes.

The rest of the group decided to head straight for the tomb but me and Dafydd instead went to visit the Bronze Age building and Liddlell Burnt Mound. This worked well as we ended up have both sites to ourselves. I was able to appreciate the building / burnt mound a lot more after listening to the talk we had just had.

We then walked out to the main attraction and were glad to see everyone else had moved on. Dafydd excitedly lay on the ‘skateboard’ and pulled himself inside. I excitedly followed!

Inside the chamber was light and airy. We took it in turn to peer/crawl into the side chambers and look at the skulls behind the Perspex. Once we had seen enough we pulled ourselves back out of the tomb and walked back to the visitor centre.

Karen and Sophie were patiently waiting for us and chatting to staff, who kindly provided a box of toys to keep her entertained. We looked around the shop and I bought a guide book although in hindsight I wished I had also bought a sweatshirt.

As we were leaving the lady who gave the first talk called us to one side. She said that she and her staff had been very impressed with Dafydd’s behaviour, knowledge and interest in the site. She asked if Dafydd would like a photo holding ‘Jock Tamson’s’ skull? – of course he did!
We went back into the room and the door was closed. Dafydd was handed the skull and was able to hold it (with support from the lady) whilst Karen took some prized photos. I was really impressed by how friendly the staff were and very proud of Dafydd to be recognised this way.

It goes without saying that this is a ’must see’ site for anyone visiting Orkney (although I thought the guide book was a bit pricy at £5.95)
(Don’t forget to visit the nearby Banks Tomb while you are at it. Both sites are fab!)
Posted by CARL
9th July 2012ce

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