Prehistoric.org.uk - Barnhouse Settlement - Prehistoric Settlement | 2024 Archive

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Barnhouse Settlement - Mainland, Orkney
Prehistoric Settlement
National Grid Reference: HY 307 127

show a map

How To Get There

Follow the directions for the Stones of Stenness. From the lay-by for the stone circle walk north towards the bridge. Just before the bridge and alongside the fence on your right is a signed footpath. Follow this for a few hundred yards to get to the settlement.

This is one of several prehistoric settlements that have come to light in recent years on the Orkney Islands. Nothing was evident on the surface here due to centuries of ploughing and erosion but large quantities of prehistoric debris pointed to the fact that something had once stood here. Upon excavation the foundations of 15 Neolithic huts were discovered. All of the stones, posts and banks that are visible now are modern indications of what structures originally stood here by the banks of the Loch of Harray.

There used to be a theory (put forward by Ewan MacKie) that amongst the inhabitants of Skara Brae were an elite group of priests who would carry out ceremonies at the Stones of Stenness. With the discovery of the Barnhouse Settlement it seems much more likely that any priestly class conducting such ceremonies would have lived here, just a couple of minutes walk from the stone circle. The Stones of Stenness can just be distinguished in the photograph at the top of this page, in the middle distance and about 1/3 in from the right hand edge.

The site seems to have been in use for 400 years from around 3200BC.

Nearby Sites

Stones of Stenness
Ring of Brodgar
Maes Howe

Related Sites

Skara Brae

 

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This prehistoric site has been rescued for historical reasons by History X's archive