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

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St Mary's Kirk (Isbister) (Broch) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>St Mary's Kirk (Isbister)</b>Posted by wideford<b>St Mary's Kirk (Isbister)</b>Posted by wideford<b>St Mary's Kirk (Isbister)</b>Posted by wideford<b>St Mary's Kirk (Isbister)</b>Posted by wideford

St Mary's Kirk (Isbister) (Broch) — Fieldnotes

Take the bottom end of the Gorseness Road. North of the road is the Loch of Brockan, south of the road just before Grind is a steep-sided mound in the middle of a field. This is St Mary's Kirk in Isbister, Rendall, NMRS record no. HY31NE 2. On reading a 1941 newspaper account that the tenants were forbidden from clearing the field or removing stones I was happy to see from the road stones here and there, but once in the field it is obvious that this virtue has been undermined as cattle have started to trash it. The protection was not afforded to non-ecclesiastical monuments in the vicinity, as the 1880 Name Book reports that the farmer had demolished adjoining ruins, at which time this site showed the remains of two concentric structural walls. A 1941 newspaper report spoke of half-buried well-squared stones, and definitely by 1967 the O.S. saw neither walls nor structure. The approx 1.4m high mound had been squared off by ploughing to leave almost vertical sides - no way you can call them that now. But you can certainly see where some building has been on top of the mound, for at the northern end a slightly raised section of much darker grass covers a few remnants of Broch Age wall. Perhaps it's the kirk. What we have from St Mary's itself belong to the burial ground. The 1880 tenant excavated human bones and likely gravestones, and the 1967 O.S. mentions that nearby at HY39961870 the farmer at Grind found a pile of human bones between parallel stone walls topped by a flagstone. Sensibly he put things back where they were and again the O.S. could find no trace.

Ness of Woodwick (Broch) — Images

<b>Ness of Woodwick</b>Posted by wideford<b>Ness of Woodwick</b>Posted by wideford<b>Ness of Woodwick</b>Posted by wideford<b>Ness of Woodwick</b>Posted by wideford<b>Ness of Woodwick</b>Posted by wideford<b>Ness of Woodwick</b>Posted by wideford<b>Ness of Woodwick</b>Posted by wideford<b>Ness of Woodwick</b>Posted by wideford<b>Ness of Woodwick</b>Posted by wideford<b>Ness of Woodwick</b>Posted by wideford

Ness of Woodwick (Broch) — Fieldnotes

Even taking photos along the way it took me under 50 minutes to reach the broch mound from the Evie Road, but you can get by car much of the way. Just north of Woodwick is the Ardwick Road, go up this to the top where there are several farms clustered together. Behind Arwick there is a half-snapped-off sign for the beach (wonderful how markers self-destruct in Orkney) and you continue down past Lower Bisgarth to where there is a parting of the ways. From Vishall Hill you can make out the broch because of the brightness of the later drywall enclosure stuck behind it. On the left a farmtrack goes to the sands by the northern side of the lochan (with its almost vestigial ayre) while on the right you take what is almost a farm road down to the shore and turn to your right for the Ness of Woodwick. I went at low tide but it seemed to me that you could walk the outside of the field with care if the tide were too high. Even though on the map the Craig of Ritten juts out it felt to me more as if the broch mound was tucked into the land. Though the 20' internal wall arc mentioned in the report is indeed hidden now there is another exposed at the bottom of the tower, not much above the shore so easily masked if you visit on an incoming tide. It struck me that the tower must survive under the mound almost complete. All over the mound you can find the odd stone. However the nature of a broch is that these being isolated I could not tell if these were simply part of the massively wide broch tower wall or parts of other structures. Clambering up to the top I could see several lumps and bumps inside the medaeval/'modern' enclosure and just beyond it. What with the surviving height of the broch tower and the topography I would deem it likely that the rest of the broch settlement survives under the turf. I wish I could find my Photoshopped version of the 'original' Google Earth image I found, as it clearly showed the tower outworks as a surviving plan despite the ground cover. On the composite image from two satellites you can still make out a figure-of-eight with one side a dark line of inner and outer broch tower arcs and connection (?entrance side). Also away from the main broch you can see the bumps I saw. Most obvious is a beetle shaped oval directly adjoining, almost entirely contained by one side of the 'modern' enclosure. Which makes the site extend inland like the other Evie brochs.

Ness of Woodwick (Broch) — Miscellaneous

Ness of Woodwick broch, NMRS record no. HY42SW 9, aka the Craig of Ritten/Rittin. The 'crag' is an impressive mound with dimensions estimated as 50-60 feet across with an inner diameter about half that - in 1946 at the seaward side to the NE about 20' of outer wall (thought to be the outer wall-face) could be observed. No midden was seen. Twenty years later most of this outer wall was overgrown like the rest of the mound. Hedges notes that the rocky outcrops and sand below would be a good place to haul up a boat.

Redland South (Chambered Cairn) — Fieldnotes

In Evie village opposite the 'new' school is the Aikerness road with a sign for the Broch of Gurness (originally the Knowe of Aikerness). Going down the road where the farm on your right ends Redland South is in the second and third fields down - when I went three-and-a-half years ago, taking photos from the roadside bank, I didn't realise that the bulk of the cairn lies in the lower field because I went purely by the Pastmap marker. Certainly the 'upper' section is the most visibly man-made because of the large excavation pit around what had been known as the Redland standing stone, and looking across to Vishall Hill two long shapes look much more like burial mounds (they are above where Keek once stood). This is because the cairn sits on a the flat top of a natural mound rather like later cists were placed in false crests and rises. Indeed it feels as if the 'upper' section is a seperate entity as with the Head of Work. The lower field's remnant (entered by another gate) is rather unimpressive, especially as with a warming climate the protruding stones detailed in the record are hidden by grass. I came across then haphazardly, and it struck me that rather than ragged stumps these are original tops - I don't see why the standing stone alone would have survived levelling.

Redland South (Chambered Cairn) — Miscellaneous

Redland South cairn, NMRS record no. HY32SE 17, was at least 27m long by 12m wide. Aligned ESE/WSW it sat on the edge of a shallow NW/SE plateau ~83m x ~15m, a natural dip on the NW side marked by an old track. A long stalled chamber is marked by eight protruding stumps. The compartments were most likely some 1.65m, though there was a longer compartment or two shorter ones between slabs 6 and 7 and the end compartment was also somewhat longer. The Redland Standing Stone and its partner formed a stall 4.1m from one end of the chamber [either the other stalls also once stood to a man's height and they are much reduced or there was a considerable variation in height, though what comes to my mind is Weyland Smithy]. It is thought possible that the cairn continued beyond the NE cairn material. Also there is a 1.3m long 0.4m high orthostat SE of the chamber not following its axis.

Redland South (Chambered Cairn) — Images

<b>Redland South</b>Posted by wideford<b>Redland South</b>Posted by wideford<b>Redland South</b>Posted by wideford<b>Redland South</b>Posted by wideford<b>Redland South</b>Posted by wideford<b>Redland South</b>Posted by wideford<b>Redland South</b>Posted by wideford<b>Redland South</b>Posted by wideford<b>Redland South</b>Posted by wideford<b>Redland South</b>Posted by wideford<b>Redland South</b>Posted by wideford

Seven Knowes (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery) — Images

<b>Seven Knowes</b>Posted by wideford<b>Seven Knowes</b>Posted by wideford<b>Seven Knowes</b>Posted by wideford<b>Seven Knowes</b>Posted by wideford<b>Seven Knowes</b>Posted by wideford<b>Seven Knowes</b>Posted by wideford<b>Seven Knowes</b>Posted by wideford<b>Seven Knowes</b>Posted by wideford

Seven Knowes (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery) — Fieldnotes

I decided to do the Hackland Road in Rendall from north to south, starting from the junction near Skiddy. This section's only purpose seems to be to separate the Seven Knowes from mounds formerly on the downhill side near the new housing where the road turns. Marked as tumuli on the map, though not prominent if you know they are there the two chief ones are quite easy to spot approaching uphill. The southern boundary of Seven Knowes is formed by a farmtrack that goes to Enyas Hill, and Gitterpitten on the road below is the Orcadian form of the term Picts Dyke. Along the track is the fieldgate by which I entered for a closer look at the two main mounds, it being open at the time. One of these seems completely intact, truly conical, whilst the other one has a large scrape in the south side and depressions on top from previous digging (best seen from uphill).

Seven Knowes (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery) — Miscellaneous

Seven Knowes, HY32SE 8, is a compact group of bowl barrows set in boggy ground. They are on what the record calls a low plateau, and range in diameter from 12 to 35ft and in height from 18 ins to 2ft 6 ins. Excavations of three in close proximity to one another in 1998 found two of them had centrally placed cremation cists , these being evenly spaced around the mounds and taking the form of rounded pits dug into the hillwash that also covered them. Crude stone tools were found on top of the cists and also on the kerbs of these mounds. The two best surviving mounds, the largest, and most of the smaller ones have been dug before

Redland South (Chambered Cairn) — Images

<b>Redland South</b>Posted by wideford

Redland South (Chambered Cairn) — Miscellaneous

RCAMS 273 the Redland standing stone was, and stil is, the most visible piece of Redland South's stonework. Until the 1880s, when a farmer smashed it to stop livestock using it as a rubbing stone, it stood about 2m high. The irregularly topped stump is described in the late 1920s as 12 or 16" high by 3' broad by 6" thick, and aligned ENE/WSW like Staneyhill. At that time the 4'8" upper fragment, tapering to a 2'7" squared off top, lay where it fell. In 1929 the ground around the stone was described as irregular with some small earthfast stones with the smaller stump of another standing stone mere feet away. So the excavation we see here is 1930 or later. More to follow on the cairn proper when I've sifted through photos from three visits. Cairn is in two fields on your right as you go from the Evie road to the Broch of Gurness

Knowe of Stenso (Broch) — Images

<b>Knowe of Stenso</b>Posted by wideford

Millfield (Burnt Mound / Fulacht Fia) — Images

<b>Millfield</b>Posted by wideford<b>Millfield</b>Posted by wideford<b>Millfield</b>Posted by wideford

Millfield (Burnt Mound / Fulacht Fia) — Fieldnotes

Coming along the Seatter road and turning for Noltland, opposite the junction with the road passing Greentoft, the long axis of a field mound runs parallel to the road you're on. It is far larger than anything else this way, being over twice the size of all the other mounds, burnt or otherwise, in the area. The presently grass-covered slopes appear gentle to me. There is the faintest hint of a curve in the face towards the road, but rather than the vague crescent associated with burnt mounds the overall impression is that at some point it has had a huge chunk taken out. The rusty gate to the field stands between erect stones, the left one of which is atypical being so marvellously gnarled _ I have always found it strange that there are no standing stones recorded for Deerness, could this have been one ?

Millfield (Burnt Mound / Fulacht Fia) — Miscellaneous

NMRS record no. HY50NE 41 stands over a man's height at a little over 2m high and is 50m long by 17m high. The records says that under the plough as well burnt material red stones come up too.

Barnhouse Settlement (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Images

<b>Barnhouse Settlement</b>Posted by wideford<b>Barnhouse Settlement</b>Posted by wideford
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Unemployed and so plenty of spare time for researching contributors' questions and queries and for making corrections. Antiquarian and naturalist. Mode of transport shanks's pony. Talent unnecessary endurance. I love brochs.

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