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

Oyce of Isbister

Round Barrow(s)


In 1858 by James Muir, tenant of Isbister mill and farm, found several cists close to his house. The largest was 2'3" wide, with the SW side 5'8" long and that on the NE 4'8" long. To help prevent the ingress of water the depth was greater on the longer side (2'10" as against 2'7" max) with a half-an-inch of gravel on the level bottom. A flexed skeleton lay on its RH side at the NW end and another at the opposite end. Petrie noticed what looked to be outline traces of a large barrow in the surrounding ground. Another cist, with a similarly slanted lid and found about 5' to the SW held the skeleton of a woman face down. It was only 1'10" wide by 3' long and deep. The skull was at the ESE, a few bones near the middle and a heap of burnt ones a foot from the other end. Later a third cist a mere foot square was found 5/6' from the SE end of the second cist and had a pile of burnt bone fragments in the centre. NMRS record number HY31NE 14 only gives a grid reference of HY3918.
The Oyce of Isbister mounds (NMRS record number HY31NE 8) are only about a quarter of a mile from the mill. In 1946 apart from a grave mound these ranged from about 15' to some 21'D, with a maximum height of 3' (though there was a 6' high one [E] at HY39011810 it is most likely natural). The OS in 1966 give three as probable barrows (A at HY39021802, B at HY39001802, C at HY38981801) and three probable burnt mounds (D at HY39001808, F at HY39001811, G at HY39001813) plus the natural one (E at HY39011810). On the other hand in 1979 Hedges gives 4 small burnt mounds (on the E bank of a burn emptying into a "lagoon") 60m from twa earthen mounds lying atop slightly raised land. But I suspect his numbers come from his desire to keep the two kinds physically seperate. The largest mound, A, was 5' high. is composed of earth with small stones, and contains a cist at least 3'6" long (whose east end is missing). This was 45' across in 1946, but in 1966 the OS found its measurements to be roughly 14m E/W by 12m N/S.
wideford Posted by wideford
15th October 2012ce

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