Blackhammer Chambered Cairn, Rousay, Orkney3D Model
The stalled chambered tomb of Blackhammer is an example of an ‘Orkney-Cromarty’ cairn. Its entrance passage leads to a long central chamber, divided by pairs of upright stones into seven ‘stalls’ or compartments.
The cairn’s outer facing stonework is laid at slanting angles in a herringbone pattern. When the entrance was eventually sealed shut, the blocking stones were carefully laid to correspond with this pattern on either side of the passage.
In 1936, Callander and Grant excavated the remains of two adults; one in the blocked entrance, the other in the westernmost compartment. They also found a large quantity of bird and mammal bones (many of which were burnt), flint and stone tools, and Unstan Ware pottery.
The chamber was capped with a concrete roof in 1938.
The site is in the care of HES. It’s open to the public and free to visit. For information on visiting, see our website. Discover more history of Blackhammer in the HES Archives.