- Rennibister Earth House - Souterrain | 2024 Archive

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Rennibister Earth House - Mainland, Orkney
National Grid Reference: HY 397 125

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How To Get There

The site is just off the A965 between Finstown and Kirkwall. The site is signed and is located in a farm yard. If you are in a car please take note of the sign asking you not to drive it all the way up to the farm. The entrance to the earth house is surrounded by a fence and covered by a metal grate. A modern ladder leads into the chamber.

The earth house at Rennibiester.

The earth house at Rennibister was discovered in 1926 when a farm machine passing over the top caused the roof to cave in! The surprise find was to lead to even more consternation amongst archaeologists when it was discovered that it contained a lot of human bones. Earth houses were not built as tombs and no other example on the islands has yielded burials. Here were the skeletons of 6 adults and 12 children. The scene of some tragic slaughter? I would guess that a more likely explanation is the later re-use of the site as a burial chamber. This is sheer speculation on my part and some indication of the context that the bones were found in might prove useful in getting to the truth.

As at Grain Earth House I felt very cramped here although the surroundings are not as claustrophobic - escape from confinement is close at hand here in the form of the ladder. I found it difficult to set up my camera for a shot of the chamber. If I wanted to get much of it into the picture then there wasn't much room for me behind the view finder.

Nearby Sites

Related Sites

Grain Earth House
Carn Euny




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