Quanterness, Orkney, Scotland

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Developed passage grave on the Mainland of Orkney, extensively excavated by Colin Renfrew in 1972–4. The mound was circular in plan, 30 m in diameter, and up to 3.2 m high. In the centre was a rectangular chamber 6.1 m by 1.6 m, with a corbel‐vaulted roof and six side cells opening from it. The chamber was approached by a narrow passage from the east. Within the excavated part of the chamber were the disarticulated remains of 157 individuals; multiplied up to take account of the areas not excavated, there may have been as many as 400 individuals represented in the tomb. Renfrew suggests that the tomb was used by a small egalitarian community, perhaps an extended family, over a period of up to 1000 years.


C. Renfrew, 1979, Investigations in Orkney. London: Society of Antiquaries

Subjects: Archaeology.

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