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Dwarfie Stane, Hoy

4.6
#6 of 9 in Things to do in Hoy
The Dwarfie Stane is a megalithic chambered tomb carved out of a titanic block of Devonian Old Red Sandstone located in a steep-sided glaciated valley between the settlements of Quoys and Rackwick on Hoy, an island in Orkney, Scotland. The stone is a glacial erratic located in desolate peatland.
The attribution as a tomb was originally based on its resemblance to recognized tombs in southern Europe. The Dwarfie Stane is the only chambered tomb in Orkney that is cut from stone rather than built from stones and may be the only example of a Neolithic rock-cut tomb in Britain. However, despite its unique construction, its plan is consistent with the so-called Orkney-Cromarty class of chambered tomb found throughout Orkney. Some authors have referred to this type of tomb as Bookan-class, after a chambered cairn in Mainland, although there's some disagreement as to the relationship between the two tomb types.
A stone slab originally blocked the entrance to the tomb on its west side, but now lies on the ground in front of it. It is unique in northern Europe, bearing similarity to Neolithic or Bronze Age tombs around the Mediterranean. R. Castleden refers to the Dwarfie Stane as representing "the imported idea of the rock-cut tomb" that was "tried once and found to be unsatisfactory", perhaps due to the hardness of the Old Red Sandstone. There is no direct evidence, however, of any link to the builders of the Mediterranean rock-cut tombs.
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Dwarfie Stane Reviews
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4.4
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  • In this 8th wide, 1.2m high and 4m deep sandstone block, an entrance with two small side chambers was smashed about 5000 years ago. This means that there were no metal tools yet. The chambers are enormously clean and straight shaped. Today it is assumed to be a tomb. The Dwarfie Stane is about 15 minutes walk from a small parking lot and it goes a good bit uphill. Good footwear is a prerequisite!!!
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  • Been here many times - convenient car park and well signposted path from the road to make the short walk easier. This is also near the site of the breeding white-tailed eagles and in the summer months...  more »
Google
  • Huge stone hollowed out to provide a tomb. It's on the road to Rackwick Bay, about 500yds to the south. The path through the heather and moors is a narrow boardwalk. The location is awesome. I visited it on a bright and sunny day, with stunning views to Mainland
  • A 10min walk from the road along a well kept path is a large rock which contains a once hidden tomb. The plug stone of tge tomb is on the ground next to the small entrance.
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