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



Current Archaeology 199 has an Orkney special.
Even knowing the area it took a couple of minutes to get my bearings on the photo on the first page of the Mine Howe article. At it is almost the reverse of the map on the next page here goes :-
Two adjacent squares centre left are the present graveyard. Mine Howe is the first mound over the road in the field opposite the RH square. The large mound to the right of Mine Howe is Long Howe, with the Time Team reconstruction on the lesser end nearest Mine Howe. Right of that again Round Howe extends either side of the road at the bottom of the picture. The mounds of Brymer are opposite the road junction that is off the right of the photo. In the modern graveyard the gravedigger has found evidence of St.Ninian's Chapel. This used to be said to be on the hillside faintly visible in the field behind but this is now believed to be a settlement area (mediaeval farmstead mooted). The more obvious hillocks to thats left is Stem Howe. Near the back of the field from that glimsed next left, and therefore well off the photo, is Hawell burnt mound (there were originally two). The big farm near top centre is Breck. A beehive chamber (possibly more than one) came out of the stockyard and several thick-walled urns from nearby fields. From the left of Breck there are the remains of another burnt mound halfway along the curving boundary. The track from the road to the farm cuts through a hillock from where a line of erect stones proceeds to the left along the ridge. At the top left of the picture is Meickle/Little Crofty from whose area a cist came.

The last page of the same article refers to howe and knowe and too all being names for mounds. Of course opinions on which are natural and which man-made or altered change, 'Little Barnhouse' just roadside opposite the Standing Stones Hotel being a case in point. This applies to too/tuo names, often names later changed to tower. Some of these are obviously structures but the name is also applied to a natural knoll on the side of a hill. Erne Tuo on Mainland is one such - what you see today is a beacon on natural, and this is how it is officially recorded, but a little like 'Little Barnhouse' there is an early report of older ruins beneath this. Geophysics or excavation are often the only way to know for certain with lesser, and Orkney is much to rich in unexplored known archaeology for this to happen.
wideford Posted by wideford
20th August 2005ce
Edited 24th August 2005ce

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