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1825-1987 Orkney reports with unconfirmed NMRS identity

Dowsgarth ?HY31SW 81

February 14th 1929 "The Orcadian" [supposed] mattie hole (smuggler's hole) found previous week on Dowascarth [sic] farm near burn and within 150m of series of buildings found by Mr.Firth in 1928 to contain large amount of bones and ashes (still to be looked at). Plough uncovered thin 52"x39" capstone 6" below ground under which some clayey soil was enclosed in a dry space 16" deep and roughly 34" square bounded by four stone sides, two of edgeset stones. Not thought to resemble a cist.

Eday ?HY53NE 28(Mill Loch)

December 8th 1855 "The Orcadian" in the area of the standing stone Hebden excavated a barrow near an ancient building and found some ashes on an ~2' long stone on the floor of a cist. Four edgeset stones formed the sides and it had a large freestone cover.

Flaws, Harray ?HY31NW 17

November 11th 1891 "The Orkney Herald" in 1890 William & James Clouston found a double cist (divided by a single flag) with earthen floor, ~3'8" below ground, whilst trenching a natural mound. Probable calcined material represented by fine sticky residue on the mound and an inch of dark mould on the cist floor. A plain stone drain sloped gently into the southern 'chamber's SW corner. Each side of the cist had two coverstones above one another. The exposed southern 'chamber' was 39½" x 22" x 29" internally. Here the cist was held in place by a protective wall of even compact laid stonework. It held "the usual" earthenware urn lay in the east end, its 4" wide mouth facing north. It fell into six pieces which amounted to 4¾" high on a 2¼" base, sole decoration a 14" incut circular groove near the urn's mouth. Northern 'chamber' internally measured 40½" x 21½" x 29", though total depth was 3" more owing to a well-placed narrow row of stones that covered the unopened edge of the north slab. Lower cover overlapped 2", being broader than the southern covers and partly resting on another stone row over the partition. Its upper cover was less regular in form and measured ~4' x 18"-2' x max. 9".
About 8 years before, whilst levelling ground at his house's gable end, Mr.Clouston found half a circular stone hammerhead in a circular cavity the size of a goose nest. This lay under a slab cover 2½' below ground.

Garth, Harray ? near HY31NW 56

June 23rd 1894 "The Orcadian" on constructing a road somewhat to the W of Garth two graves were found and not far away an urn. The larger and more complete of these was well constructed of edgeset stones and measured 4'6" x ~3' x ~3'.

Graemeshall ?HY40SE 9/40

May 13th 1896 "The Orkney Herald" on Saturday during new additions to the mansion-house (where the recently demolished farmhouse was next the old house's NE corner) a plain square-headed cist of large edgeset blocks was found. It stood on the subsoil beneath Graemeshall's sandy foundations facing SE and contained a complete 15/16year-old male's skeleton on its back with the head facing right. This cist was 6'4½"l with width 14" at the head broadest near the middle at 17½" then tapering to a point. Slabs lay across it. The sides were formed of three stones at the E end and four at the W. An addition to the old hall c.1879 uncovered a headless skeleton beneath an old millstone on the courtyard's S side and more bones were found at the house's N side recently. This likely burial ground has probably not been used for over 300 years.

Grind, Tankerness ?HY50NW 20(burnt mound)

February 15th 1882 "The Orkney Herald" some 300yds due E of the house was a low mound whose base consisted of much non-local quarried stone. On Mr.Smith building a new farm road to the main Tankerness one a NW/SE aligned cist was found on the side of this mound under ~4" of peat and 8" of clay. Rough slabs formed its sides by thin half-checking and it had a 5" thick water-worn capstone. The 21" x 12½" x 15" held the much decayed skeleton of a child with head facing E. Also inside was a pencil-thick 2½" long bone implement, seemingly once polished, with a small notch around one end.

Hermisgarth, Sanday ?HY64SE 15

August 17th 1880 "The Orkney Herald" within the last two years whilst trenching a mound (of stones with some earth) near his house William Alexander of Hermisgarthe [sic] came across a circular structure constructed of two 4' thick walls the same distance apart and the 4' gap filled with loose stones. Then last week two workmen using picks at the mound's N end found a subterranean entrance under a large flat stone. Dug out of the rock, having an earth and clay floor and covered with more large flat stones, was a 35' long souterrain varying in cross-section 2-4' square. 26' from one end an 9' from the other a roof was supported by some of the side of one end. Amongst the stones were bones. The farmer plans to completely remove the mound as this is to be the centre of a new field.

Hindrafiold ?HY31NW 57

November 24th 1977 "The Orcadian" Eric Tait of Farafield recently found a 2000 year-old cist on Hinderafiold [sic] on Upperhouse land a little above the house. Completely flag lined it measured ~ 31" x 17" x 18" and had ash and bne in a small central heap.

Lamaness, Sanday HY63NW ?18/19

February 6th 1878 "The Orkney Herald" an unaligned skeleton found recently in a rise near the shore was accompanied by several items :- iron sword and iron lumps, bronze sword and pin, decorated bone/ivory comb and lightly decorated wooden implement, bone whistle, needle bodkin, boar tusks, worked bones and sheep bones, stone sinkers/weights.

North Links, [Papa] Westray] ?HY44SW 9

July 15th 1874 "The Orkney Herald" George Petrie excavated a subterranean chamber whose roof was 5' below the ground [Pisgah 9' not 5'] and covered by clay and stones. Digs to continue here and Westray.

wideford Posted by wideford
5th April 2009ce

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