Culture

A Closer Look At Some Local Archaeology

By Bernie Bell

Pics by McB

I previously described one of our local lock-down walks, here…. https://theorkneynews.scot/2020/04/25/walking-out-from-the-house-again/ , which included a view across from the track to the Hall of Rendall, to the ruins of St. Thomas’ Kirk, and  – well  – some say the other ruin there is a broch, some question what it is.  Here’s what Canmore has to say about this cluster of structures… https://canmore.org.uk/site/2680/st-thomass-kirk-hall-of-rendall

On one of his after-work walks, Mike cut down by the Hall of Rendall to the shore, turned left, and walked along to get a closer look at this site.  He says that, on closer inspection, it gets less broch-like.  It has what look like little ‘cells’ facing outward from the main structure, which are now eroding away, into the sea.

There are some good midden deposits, also eroding out….

He was hoping to see a Viking comb sticking out of the bank!  If he had done so, he wouldn’t touch it – he’d photograph it, and send the photo, with a description of the whereabouts of the site, to County Archaeologist, Julie Gibson.  Julie can be contacted by email or on 01856 569341.

But, this time, no Viking comb – just some bones – which may not look particularly glamorous, but which can be very informative in the right hands.

Rendall midden bone Mike Bell

credit Mike Bell

Mike didn’t climb on the site, he just looked at it, and took pictures.

The remains of St. Thomas’ Kirk have not been so badly eroded, and there are remaining walls, standing a few feet high…

St Thomas Kirk Rendall Mike Bell

credit Mike Bell

He carried on along the shore-line, until, turning, he could take a photo of the mound of archaeology, from the far side…

mound on Rendall shoreline Mike Bell

credit Mike Bell

And, finally – archaeology of the future?  An old plough, draped in sea-weed, looking very picturesque – with a WW2 coastal defence building in the distance …..

Rendall shoreline plough covered in seaweed Mike Bell

Credit Mike Bell

Just one, small, local bit of coastline, but, as always with Orkney – a lot of life, was there.