Prehistoric.org.uk - Knowe of Yarso - Chambered Tomb | 2024 Archive

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Knowe of Yarso - Rousay, Orkney
Chambered Tomb
National Grid Reference: HY 405 279

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How To Get There

Follow the B9064 from Trumland to the west. You'll pass signs for Taversoe Tuick and Blackhammer chambered tombs on the way. There is a sign for Yarso, though you'll have to be careful where you park so as not to block access for the locals. Walk up the "road" and then onto the path, over a small bridge, along the side of a stone wall and then head up (quite steep)!

As you can see from the photograph above, we had all kinds of weather on the day we visited Rousay. I was in glorious sunshine at the foot of the hill, by the time I reached the tomb I had lived through quite a heavy snow shower. When I left the tomb I was greeted by horizontal hail - ouch! I'm sure it must be a lovely view when you can see it - the tomb stands around 100 metres above sea level. From the outside I'm afraid I have to say that it looks like an electricity substation, I think the fence and the notice give that impression. If only we could move some of these fences a little further back...

Once inside however Yarso becomes much more interesting. The structure is covered by a modern concrete dome to protect it from the elements, but it really isn't all that intrusive.

Yarso is a "stalled cairn", distinct in design from Cuween Hill, Wideford Hill - "Maes Howe" type tombs. Here the entrance leads to one long chamber which is partitioned by large vertically standing stones.

Excavation has yielded a radiocarbon date, which when calibrated means that this tomb was in use around 2900 BC. The tomb was found to contain the partial remains of around 30 people and rather a lot of red deer bones. Another case of a "totem" animal as with the dogs at Cuween?

Nearby Sites

Midhowe Cairn
Midhowe Broch
Blackhammer
Taversoe Tuick
Frotoft

Related Sites

Notes

 

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