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

Castle Bloody



Castle Bloody first appears as the site of a Pict's House or Fort. This mound (NMRS record no. HY51NW 4 at HY53591643) on a moorland summit in the NE of Shapinsay had been partly explored by a local prior to 1923, when a newspaper describes it as a gallery grave i.e. a souterrain like Grain and Rennibister on Mainland. Later it is called a chambered cairn. Finally, for the moment at least, it appears as a variant souterrain. This appears to mean a monument type where a mound covers one or more passages, each ending in one or more chambers built on the o.g.s. Unfortunately in or after 1972 a capstone blocked the single certain chamber here.
This 13m diameter grass-covered stony cairn has a modern marker on top, despite which from being nearly 1.7m high in 1928 the height has apparently eroded to 1.2m. The removal of several massive capstones, east of centre at the south side, revealed a N/S corbelled irregular chamber roughly 1.5x 0.9 m in plan. This is entered from the south-east by a 4m long curving lintelled passage, roughly 60cm wide and a minimum four drystane courses high, through a 90cm square chamber entrance. Below the level of this passage another left from the cell's north end. Though blocked it could be seen to turn north-east after about a metre, where what looks to be a hollow packed loosely with debris could be a second cell - it is believed there could be yet more cells in the mound leading off similarly. The certain chamber is itself now choked with debris and has become blocked by a displaced roofing slab.
If one pictures a corbelled chamber of rectangular plan with side cells leading off surely the image conjured up is that of Maes Howe ?? Right time of year for miniatures.
wideford Posted by wideford
1st January 2008ce
Edited 1st January 2008ce

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