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

Knowe of Geoso

Chambered Cairn


Rather than go the route I went by the straight ascent up the hill. From Skaill House you can see the line of two field walls running from behind Skaill Home Farm (originally The Mount) all the way to the top. From near the site of Brockan (HY23031797, the now dry deepcut streambed that gave its name to the Knowe of Geoso lying in the same field) looking across I saw a low flat hillock and a small peaky mound. When I had a closer look I saw they were the same site viewed looking from the SE along a curving hollow. Which means that from down below the whole of the flattened hilltop is the knowe. So it feels quite large when you get there. I was also surprised to find that from this ridge you can see not only all the way down to the Bay of Skaill and across but also down to the Broch of Borthwick (built on the site of an earlier structure) and beyond. A view as near panoramic as another chambered mound at Hurkisgarth (HY25451770) - perhaps in part these functioned as early precursors to the ward hills ?
Though at this time the grass is lower here than at the likes of the Hillock of Breakna the supposed cist slab would still be rendered invisible. There seemed to be various depressions underfoot but the most obvious feature is that deep large curved 'passage' carving up the mound. The knowe is described as "greatly mutilated by quarrying" which I doubt would be the case if this had been a simple mound of earth and small stones. I imagine more obvious stones having been extracted long ago, but there could well be some left below the present ground surface.
Perhaps my assumption of larger stones within the mound does relate to the O.S arc of earthfast stones just outside the area of the mound itself. Not having remembered about these I approached them afresh. What took my eye first was an apparent grouping of three of inconsistent appearance - one of bent bi-cuboid shape, one a small flat rock, the largest cracked and pockmarked - but these were merely the tops of these earthfast stones. Forgot to measure them but the smallest was on the order of a foot across the shortest dimension. This grouping is near the middle left of the mound. Nearer to the southern end lie two triangular stones against each other, one much larger than the other. These rest in a distinct depression that is additionally marked by different vegetation from that surrounding.
The mound sits above a crossroad of fields. The wall coming up from the farm and the two that run before its southern end are drystane walls. But running over the mound and down towards the seacliff is a standing stone 'fence' (from Brockan my camera picked out the ?first of these stones). This is reminiscent of the magnificent one across the Hill of Borwick on the way to the broch from Yesnaby.
From the knowe the more physically able might enjoy the walk down across the field to the right and try to pick out the burns and drystane structures from the probable remains of the dwellings of Rowhall (HY22861808) and Westfield (HY22831813).
wideford Posted by wideford
8th August 2005ce

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