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

Barnhouse Settlement

Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork


Whilst we were "ooohing" and "aaaahhing" at the wonder of it all at Stenness, Alan had wandered off towards the Barnhouse site. For him, this was an incredibly personal journey, returning to Orkney for the first time since he worked on the excavations at Barnhouse in the late 1980s. Again, I was almost dumb-founded by the archaeological remains of this site; where else can you see such outstanding remains of what was clearly a domestic location, situated so close to monuments such as Stenness and Brodgar? One of the things that has always frustrated me when I have visited sites across the UK and Ireland is "where the bloody hell did they live?" Barnhouse goes some way to easing that frustration and gives an insight into the domestic lives of these monument builders. To me, this is as important and revealing a site as Skara Brae and yet we had the place to ourselves. No tourist buses, no visitor centre and no guides telling us what we can and can't do. Alan explained that the Loch had not existed during the Neolithic period and there was likely to be more archaeological remains under the water. We wandered around, stumbling upon large stones in the landscape and raised mounds, wondering at what it all meant. Fascinating. Vicster Posted by Vicster
27th October 2009ce

Comments (1)

I have nothing but intuition on this but I agree Barnhouse is a stunner. To me the large building with entrance hearth is more ceremonial than residential. The whole site seems likely to be central to the organisation of the Stenness & Brodgar sites, probably over an immense timescale. Posted by tomatoman
8th June 2012ce
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