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Hoy, Dwarfie Stane

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Record Detail

  • Organisation
    RCAHMS
  • Alternative name(s)
    N/A
  • Canmore ID
    1597
  • Site type
    CHAMBERED CAIRN
  • Parish
    HOY AND GRAEMSAY
  • Council
    ORKNEY
  • NGR
    HY 2430 0043
  • Latitude, longitude
    58.884525N, 3.314965W
  • Archeological notes
    HY20SW 8 2430 0043. (HY 2430 0043) Dwarfie Stane (NR) OS 6" map, Orkney, 2nd ed, (1900) The Dwarfie Stane, unique in the British Isles, consists of an entrance-passage and two flanking cells cut in a huge flat block of sandstone. The squared stone which originally plugged the entrance now lies near by. A hole cut in the roof of the north cell and passage is probably to be associated with the removal of this 'plug'. Miss Henshall regards the Dwarfie Stane as being the ultimate devolution within the Bookan sub-group of Orkney-Cromarty chambered cairns, rather than evidence for direct contact with the Mediterranean, where similar tombs exist. A S Henshall 1963; RCAHMS 1946 The Dwarfie Stane is as described and planned by Henshall. Visited by OS (NKB), 15 June 1967 This was the monument most frequently mentioned by early travellers in Orkney, beginning with Jo Ben in the sixteenth century; it was most successfully popularised by Sir Walter Scott in 'The Pirate'. Johnston's paper is a good source for early references. The Stone, a natural sandstone block at the foot of the hamars S of the Rackwick road, is Britain's sole example of a rock-cut Neolithic tomb. An entrance in the S face opens into a short passage giving access to two small chambers. A stone lying immediately outside the doorway is the right size and shape to have originally closed the passage; a hole made at some time in the passage roof has recently been made good by Scottish Development Department (SDD). Most writers retail versions of folklore relating to the Stone; a particularly detailed account, of uncertain provenance appears in Chambers Journal for 1864. Eighteenth-and nineteenth-century graffiti are a notable feature, prominent being those by Major William Mounsey, a former British spy in Afghanistan and Persia (Iran); his name with the date 1850 appears on the south face, above a line of beautiful Persian calligraphy which reads ' I have sat two nights and so learnt patience' - in reference to Mounsey's experience of the Hoy midges when he camped at the Stone. The translation has kindly been provided by Dr G R Sabri-Tabrizi, Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Edinburgh. 30m ESE of the Stone is another big boulder which seems to have been intended as a closing stone; it measures 1.55m by 1.05m by 0.8m and is shaped at one end into a 'stopper' form more neatly than the shaping of the closing stone now in front of the doorway. In a line downslope N by W from the tomb, at 11m, 17m and 19m from it, are massive edge-set boulders. The positioning of these may be fortuitous, but they could conceivably be remnants of an alignment running up to the Stone. G Barry 1805; J Wallace 1700; M Martin 1716; W Scott 1822; anon 1864; A W Johnston 1896; C S T Calder and G Macdonald 1936; RCAHMS 1989, visited July 1985
  • Architectural notes
    N/A

Related material information

SCANNED IMAGES

  • 1166339 (4/6/1997)
    Aerial view of Orkney, Hoy, taken from the S, of the Dwarfie Stane.
  • 1142697 (1894)
    Hoy, Dwarfie Stane. General view of Dwarfie Stane with figure seated on top.
  • 1597 (20/5/2004)
    View from SE
  • 1597 (20/5/2004)
    View from SSW
  • 1597 (20/5/2004)
    View from W
  • 1597 (20/5/2004)
    View from SSW
  • 1597 (20/5/2004)
    View from SW
  • 1247602 ()
    General view.
  • 1247601 ()
    General view.
  • 1247600 ()
    View of chambered cairn from the south-west.
  • 1247599 ()
    General view.
  • 1202418 ()
  • 1176011 ()
  • 1176006 ()
  • 335960 ()
  • 335933 ()
    Photograph of the sealing stone. Glass negative.
  • 335932 ()
    View through entrance into the chamber.

PHOTOGRAPHS

  • 1597 (4/6/1997)
    Aerial view of Orkney, Hoy, the Dwarfie Stane from the W.
  • 1597 (4/6/1997)
    Aerial view of Orkney, Hoy, the Dwarfie Stane from the W, with the Dwarfie Hamars in the background.
  • 1597 (4/6/1997)
    Aerial view of Orkney, Hoy, taken from the S, of the Dwarfie Stane.
  • 1597 (4/6/1997)
    Aerial view of Orkney, Hoy, taken from the S, of the Dwarfie Stane.
  • 1597 (4/6/1997)
    Aerial view of Orkney, Hoy, taken from the S, of the Dwarfie Stane.
  • 1597 (4/6/1997)
    Aerial view of Orkney, Hoy, taken from the NW, of the Dwarfie Stane, with the Dwarfie Hamars in the background.
  • 1597 (1894)
    Hoy, Dwarfie Stane. General view of Dwarfie Stane with figure seated on top.
  • 1597 (6/1999)
    The Dwarfie Stane rock-cut chambered tomb: inscription added in 1850 by Major W Mouncey.
  • 1597 (6/1999)
    The closing stone in front of the entrance to the Dwarfie Stane rock-cut chambered tomb.
  • 1597 (6/1999)
    General view of Rackwick on the SW coast of Hoy.
  • 1597 (6/1999)
    General view of the Dwarfie Stane rock-cut chambered tomb from the NE.
  • 1597 (1974)
    View of the Dwarfie Stane chambered tomb from the SW, showing the blocking stone outside the entrance.
  • 1597 (1988)
    View of the entrance front of the Dwarfie Stane chambered tomb, seen from the SW.
  • 1597 (20/5/2004)
    View from SE
  • 1597 (20/5/2004)
    View from SSW
  • 1597 (20/5/2004)
    Detail of entrance
  • 1597 (20/5/2004)
    View from W
  • 1597 (20/5/2004)
    View from W
  • 1597 (20/5/2004)
    View from SSW
  • 1597 (20/5/2004)
    View from SSW
  • 1597 (20/5/2004)
    View from SW
  • 1597 (20/5/2004)
    View from SW
  • 1597 (20/5/2004)
    View from SW
  • 1597 ()
  • 1597 ()
  • 1597 ()
  • 1597 (1971)
  • 1597 ()
    Dr Marwick
  • 1597 ()
    Dr Marwick
  • 1597 ()
  • 1597 ()
    W.Hourston
  • 1597 ()
    Photograph of the sealing stone. Glass negative.
  • 1597 ()
    View through entrance into the north cell.
  • 1597 ()
    Entrance and south cell
  • 1597 ()
    General view.
  • 1597 ()
    General view.
  • 1597 ()
    View of chambered cairn from the south-west.
  • 1597 ()
    (Inv figs 3,146) RCAHMS
  • 1597 ()
    General view.
  • 1597 (1987)
  • 1597 ()
    From S, showing isolated boulders which appear to be remains of a sub peat dyke R Lamb 1985
  • 1597 ()
    From S, showing isolated boulders which appear to be remains of a sub peat dyke R Lamb 1985
  • 1597 (1985)
    From W R Lamb
  • 1597 (1985)
    From W R Lamb
  • 1597 (1985)
    REJECTED (?) blocking stone R Lamb
  • 1597 (1985)
    REJECTED (?) blocking stone R Lamb
  • 1597 (1985)
    REJECTED (?) blocking stone R Lamb
  • 1597 (1985)
    Graffito on S face R Lamb
  • 1597 (1985)
    Graffito on S face R Lamb
  • 1597 (1985)
    Graffito on S face R Lamb
  • 1597 (1985)
    Graffito on S face by Major William Mouncey, 1850 R Lamb

DIGITAL IMAGES

  • 1205229 (6/8/2009)
    Oblique aerial view centred on the Dwarfie Stane chambered cairn, taken from the SSW.
  • 1205228 (6/8/2009)
    Oblique aerial view centred on the Dwarfie Stane chambered cairn, taken from the SW.
  • 1205227 (6/8/2009)
    Oblique aerial view centred on the Dwarfie Stane chambered cairn, taken from the NW.
  • 1144541 (13/5/2009)
    General oblique aerial view lookings towards the White Glen, Hoy, taken from the N.
  • 1322804 (1875)
    Dwarfie Stane, Hoy.

MANUSCRIPTS

  • 1597 (3/10/1972)
    Dwarfie Stane.
  • 1597 (27/6/1935)
    C S T Calder's Orkney field notebook (no 3)

PRINTS AND DRAWINGS

  • 1597 (1875)
    Dwarfie Stane, Hoy.
  • 1597 ()
    Plan of San Vicente,Mallorca, PSAS 70 p227 for comparison.
  • 1597 ()
    Plans,sections and comparison with S'Abba,Bogada & Molafa. CST Calder: PSAS 70 p223
  • 1597 ()
    Sketch main entrance and cell
  • 1597 (1958)
    Plan Inv fig
  • 1597 (1983)
    Plan of chambered cairn (ORK 13)

PRINT ROOM

  • 1597 (1693)
    Drawing of Ring of Brodgar and an unidentified Standing Stone. Dwaffie Stane
  • 1597 (1693)
    Map of Orkney with vignettes of archaeological finds, the Dwaffie Stane, an artillary fortification at Kirkwall harbour.
  • 1597 (1760)
    Drawing of the Dwarfie Stane.

1st edition 6-inch maps

TitleDateOther parishes/counties
 Ordnance Survey six-inch to the mile, Orkney, Sheet CXII1880