Category: Further Afield

(Ballin Smith 2014)

The Crantit cist burials

As we saw last time, the closure of the Crantit chamber left little or nothing visible above ground. But people came back, suggesting the site was marked and memories or traditions of its role persisted. We know this because centuries after the ancient site was sealed it became a focus for at least three Bronze Age burials. Read more
Crantit Chambered Cairn

Crantit chambered cairn

In April 1998, the discovery of a prehistoric chambered tomb on the outskirts of Kirkwall caused great excitement in archaeological circles. The Crantit chamber had lain undisturbed for millennia so hopes were high that it would contain the untouched remains of early Orcadians. Read more
Stones of Via (

The Stones of Via

One of the most puzzling prehistoric features on the Orkney Mainland goes by the name of the Stones of Via. Most accounts over the past two centuries slotted it into one of two categories – a toppled dolmen or a denuded chambered cairn. But, as always, it is not that simple. Read more
Crossiecrown Bronze Age Phase

The Crossiecrown settlement – part two

Parallels with Barnhouse and the Ness of Brodgar hint that the Crossiecrown “double-house” was more than a dwelling. The quality of the internal stonework, the deposited artefacts and the fact the Red House had been “decorated” suggests we have another example of a “big house” – a structure with “enhanced ancestral significance and status”. Read more