Structure Eight

Structure Eight.

With walls stretching over 18 metres long, four sets of double piers dividing the interior and five hearths, Structure Eight is the largest example of piered architecture found on site to date.

The colossal building had stone-slated roof, evidence of painted walls and a single entrance, in the north-eastern end.

Constructed around 3200BC, shortly after Structure One, Structure Eight was built on top of earlier structural remains (Structures Seventeen and Eighteen), which inevitably led to problems with subsidence.

Initially the roof over the southern half of the building was removed and the northern half’s roof propped up till it collapsed, leaving thin stone slabs littering the floor, above the occupation deposits. These slabs had been carefully trimmed into the rectangular shapes that can still be seen on some traditional stone-roofed Orcadian buildings today.

The collection of spectacular, but enigmatic, artefacts from Structure Eight include a large whale tooth, several polished stone items – including maceheads and axes – and a whalebone macehead.

Originally we thought Structure Eight had a single phase of activity. It is now considerably more complicated, with the partial demolition of the building, to accommodate Structure Ten, leaving the northern half with a roof and the southern half roofless and the location of considerable activity involving extensive use of hearths.