Revealing The Cairns – Part One

By Bernie Bell

Pics by B&M Bell

In the hope of keeping Orkney archaeology in public awareness, even though the digs can’t happen this year due to – you know what –  I previously presented the readers of TON with some of my photos of the Ness of Brodgar archaeology dig through the years….

I then thought I’d do the same for The Cairns  – an Iron Age Broch and accompanying settlement on South Ronaldsay. 

Some of these images will have appeared previously, in articles about The Cairns in The Orkney News, for example, this one…..

……..some, won’t have.

From an interesting hummock in the land, this site has emerged and risen, year by year, structure by structure, layer by layer.

I lay The Cairns, at your feet………..

We first visited the site in 2017.  This photo shows the central area of the Broch, and also gives some idea of its position in the landscape, and its proximity to the sea………

Location, location, location!!!

You might have noticed a centrally placed stone, with a hole in it – here’s a close up………

And….it lines up with the entrance to the souterrain –  just…LOOK at it!

Here’s what the diggers are initially faced with…..

…but, if they dig, and scrape, and brush, lightly and ever so carefully, they end up with…….

(to be continued……)

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5 replies »

  1. Excellent Bernie, you know you should be getting paid by Orkney Tourism for all this good stuff.


      Your message has come at just the right time – you’ve bucked me up, no end.

    • exactly my thoughts too. The Orkney News is read across the world by many who have been to Orkney, who are intending to come, or who would love to come but are unable to. Bernie’s personal insights into the places she visits are very popular.

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