Grain 'Earth House', Iron Age Souterrain, Orkney3D ModelNoAI
Grain Souterrain (or ‘Earth House’) is an Iron Age subterranean structure, found within the Hatston industrial estate on Mainland, Orkney.
It comprises a curving drystone passage leading to a rounded chamber, about 2m below the current ground surface. Above ground, it’s covered by a modern mound, which reveals the form of its plan.
It was likely built in the 1st millennium BC. Excavations have shown that it was once part of a larger settlement, which included a second, smaller souterrain. Its function is unknown, and may have changed with time. It may have been primarily for storage, but other uses could have included ritual activity.
It was excavated in 1857 by Farrer and Petrie, and was found to contain charred wood, shellfish and the bones of domestic animals.
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 Grain Souterrain in the HES Archives.