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




<b>Dale</b>Posted by widefordImage © Andrew Appleby (done by wideford)
Nearest Town:Stromness (10km SW)
OS Ref (GB):   HY331154 / Sheet: 6
Latitude:59° 1' 14.3" N
Longitude:   3° 9' 55.05" W

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<b>Dale</b>Posted by wideford <b>Dale</b>Posted by wideford <b>Dale</b>Posted by wideford <b>Dale</b>Posted by wideford


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Walking from the Kirkwall-Stromness road towards Dounby on the left before reaching Springfield [which is before you reach the top of the Stoneyhill road] I saw a disused farmtrack and pursued it for a possible fresh view of the Grimeston district. Along the way I passed an broad raised track heading off left. Shortly thereafter on the other side I saw a ploughed field littered with stones and with a rise of a strange pinkish-red hue where the map showed nothing. Fortunately I took photos, because this is the spot where the Dale earthhouse is buried - the raised track goes to Dale. Nothing definite to look at, just sus wideford Posted by wideford
5th May 2007ce


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In "Harray - Orkney's Inland Parish" the map for the Grimeston district shows a field called Green Brae field directly south of a site called Syabank site. These are described as a "Pictish mound" and a "hole near an ancient grave or cists" respectively. wideford Posted by wideford
17th July 2007ce
Edited 17th July 2007ce

RCAHMS NMRS record no. HY31NW 16 at HY33111538.

The earthhouse lies in a field that was uncultivated heath until the year in question, under a low flattish grass-covered mound with a few large stones protruding on its top, whose removal uncovered flagstones measuring on the order of 5' x 2' and 4-5" thick. Several smaller stones "at this spot" included one 9" by 7½" by 2" with a cupmark and another less geometric 9x5x8" block with one 4" across 2" deep and at right angles to this on another side two together each 3x1½ ".
In levelling the mound the souterrain's corbelled passage entrance was found just W of the stones. The passageway was 2-3' wide and 2' deep. An oval chamber 12' by 8' was not excavated until the August 1927, the roofing slabs having by the been removed. It too was only about two foot high. There were no "built walls" found and so the building wasn't well preserved. Afterwards the farmer buried the site.
Finds from the chamber: a roughly dressed 10x4x3½ tool similar to ones found in St. Andrews (one in Petrie's notebook 8 page 41 and another at Yinstay), St. Ola (the underground structures at Hatston Aerodrome) and Eynhallow (Monkerness), but better known in Shetland, and two anthropomorphic stones. Of the latter one was an oblong 10½" by 3½" by 2¼" with a groove near one end and the other of less defined shape 17x8x2-3" with a similar groove picked out round the narrower end. Similar objects have been found in Orkney in South Ronaldsay (from a hill near How farm - either Big Howe or Little Howe), in Birsay (unnamed location) and more in another district of Harray (on an unnamed farm in Netherbrough and two below a 40' diameter grass-grown circle on the Brecks of Netherbrough that has probably gone).

At the end of 1926 a piece of heathland was coming into cultivation, and in harrowing a low grassy mound the farmer uncovered a 3' wide 6" deep 'causeway' of dressed stone 55' external diameter that ran around it. The farmer removed several large protruding stones and then the 'causeway', under which he found a large barbed flint arrowhead. When he started levelling the mound the souterrain entrance came to light. This was investigated in December. In April 1927 burials turned up at opposite sides from the mound. In August the souterain was finally excavated before being covered over. In this area finds included primitive anthropomorphic idols and what sounds like several pieces of rock art.

RCAHMS NMRS record no. HY31NW 16 at HY33111538. The two burials were both about ten yards from the mound's centre, which would place them outside the circular "causeway". To the NE was a coffin-shaped cist. 6' by 2'4"-3' by one foot deep containing much decomposed bone and on the SW a flagstone covered bone particles occupying a hollow. At the foot of the long cist lay another piece of possible portable rock art, resembling a prism shape 5" by 4¾" with cavities on two faces, one 3½x3x¾" and the other 2" across 5/8" deep
wideford Posted by wideford
5th May 2007ce
Edited 26th June 2007ce