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


Howan Blo


<b>Howan Blo</b>Posted by widefordImage © wideford
Nearest Town:Kirkwall (12km W)
OS Ref (GB):   HY571060 / Sheet: 6
Latitude:58° 56' 21.5" N
Longitude:   2° 44' 43.72" W

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<b>Howan Blo</b>Posted by wideford <b>Howan Blo</b>Posted by wideford


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Walk west from the Deerness Stores and ooking up to the former United Free Church of Deerness a long natural mound called Howan Blo is easily seen. I have only seen it from the main road but there is a track goes by. I could see zooming in a slightly terraced slope, either from ploughing or perhaps to make inserting easier. The farm of Blow(e)s is said to be named after it.
In the excavation record I notice two similarities with George Petrie's 1861 dig at Greentoft/Milldam, no great distance away. First the use of loose stone to 'ground' the cists, and more importantly that if someone had removed the funerary urn Petrie found it would have left an urn-shaped cavity of virtually the same dimensions as that at Howan Blo. Which suggest co-evality at least, if not the same potter.
wideford Posted by wideford
29th January 2014ce


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NMRS HY50NE 5. Here over the course of a few years Mr Aim, the farmer at Blow(e)s, came across internments near its crest in 1929 and 1932 (the record says 1933, but Callendar's article from that October refers the discovery to "January last"). On both occasions he covered the finds until the archaeologists came. In early March 1929 whilst digging into the clay his plough lifted the coverstone of a short cist containing an eight inch high dolomitic steatite urn and potsherds from a small urn. The cist was hollowed into a circular depresssion 4-5" deep in the centre, floored with stone flakes averaging some 5" square and ¼" thick. In plan it was approx. 20" by 16" with sides of bluish Orkney sandstone slabs each 18" deep and 1½" thick. There was a layer of burnt human bones 5-6" deep. After excavation the farmer put the remains back and covered the find. in January 1932 Mr Aim made another find only a few feet away. This consisted of a Bronze Age cinerary urn and fragments of a smaller one, both of clay. The large urn held bone ash and potsherds. When the archaeologists came and did their excavation they found an urn-shaped cavity under a coverstone just five feet away, though it had never held an urn. It measured some 15" deep and 12" wide diminishing to 5", and was almost completely filled with the dark greasy remains of bones. Though the urn passed to the museum the rest was re-buried as before. wideford Posted by wideford
29th January 2014ce
Edited 29th January 2014ce