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

The Dwarfie Stane

Chambered Tomb


The Orkneys had sea-trows and hilltrows. All natural phenomena were regarded as the work of these supernatural agents, to whom worship was offered. A remarkable monument of this worship still remains on the hills of Hoy, the most mountainous of the islands. It is known as the Dwarfie Stone, and consists of a large detached block of sandstone, seven feet in height, twentytwo feet long, and seventeen feet broad. The upper end has been hollowed out by the hands of devotees into a sort of apartment, containing two beds of stone, with a passage between them.

The upper, or longer bed, is 5 ft. 5 in. long by 2 ft. broad, and intended for the dwarf. The lower couch is shorter, and rounded off, instead of being squared, at the corners ; it is intended for the dwarfs wife.

There is an entrance of about three feet and a half square, and a stone lies before it, calculated to fit the opening. Not satisfied with having provided such a solid habitation for the genius loci and his helpmate, the islanders were still in the habit, at no very distant period, of carrying propitiatory gifts to this fetich.
From Notes and Queries, Jan 26th, 1884.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
25th August 2006ce

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