Rennibister 'Earth House' Souterrain, Orkney3D Model
Rennibister Souterrain (or ‘Earth House’) is a subterranean Iron Age structure on Mainland Orkney. Likely constructed in the 1st millennium BC, it comprises a sloping passage leading to an oval chamber and would once have been part of a larger settlement.
It may have been used primarily for storage but other functions may have included ritual use. Intriguingly, the closing deposit included the mixed remains of up to 18 people, including 12 children.
Discovered in 1926 when its roof collapsed under the weight of a threshing machine, the underground chamber was excavated by the Orkney Archaeology Society, overseen by Hugh Marwick. It currently sits within the working farmyard of Rennibister Farm, with the chamber now accessed through its roof, via a modern hatch and ladder.
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 Rennibister in the HES Archives