Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Midhowe Chambered Cairn receives £30,000 investment from Historic Environment Scotland


One of Scotland's largest chambered cairns, on the Isle of Rousay in Scotland, is to benefit from £30,000 of Historic Environment Scotland funding, for conservation work to go ahead.

Midhowe Chambered Cairn on Rousay island, which is 3km north of the Orkney mainland, is a Neolithic chambered cairn where the remains of at least 25 humans have been found. The cairn stands twenty metres from the shoreline and is sheltered from the elements by a stone and steel structure erected in the 1930s, following the initial excavation of the site.

Giving an insight into conservation efforts at the time, the shelter makes use of traditional stonework and is naturally ventilated and lit rather than being completely enclosed. Above the Cairn, a 33 meter long walkway allows visitors a unique view of the partitioned burial chambers, where the remains of 25 individuals were found.

Video of Midhowe Chambered Cairn:

The conservation work

This summer, work will be undertaken to restore the steel elements of the structure and tackle climate-related corrosion, so the Cairn can continue to be enjoyed by all. HES Head of Conservation North, Lucy Vaughn said: "Chambered cairns are not uncommon in the north of Scotland, but this is one of the best preserved examples thanks to careful conservation.

"That conservation can be a slow process, and in this case, it is lengthened due to the constraints at the site.We understand that there will be some disappointment for visitors to the island hoping to see Midhowe, but these works will ensure that that the site remains in an excellent state, providing a distinctive view of a Neolithic burial site for years to come.”
Protecting Midhowe Chambered Cairn
The work will see extensive scaffolding erected to allow Historic Environment staff and contractors access to the roof, and to protect the Cairn while work is going on. The corrosion will then be treated, and the steel trusses repainted. The treatment for the corrosion will require an extended period of time to cure, and require comparatively warm and dry conditions.
A final inspection will be carried out before the scaffolding is removed. As the site relies on natural lighting, work has begun in August to allow staff to maximise daylight to avoid poor weather conditions that might delay work and transport of materials. The site is expected to reopen in December 2017.
For more on the cairn, visit the Historic Environment Scotland website.

(Images copyright Otter; video courtesy of Myinfoonline Business Pages)

Back to "Scottish archaeology" Category

14/08/2017 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

Lost at Sea - new exhibition explores the dangers of life at sea over the years

A new exhibition which takes a look at the dangers of life at sea, as well as the people and inventions which ...

New Highland Games Centre in Braemar to be completed by September 2018

Work is continuing on a new Highland Games Centre at the site of the Braemar Gathering, which will chart the ...

Free lunchtime lectures - Friends of Dundee City Archives

Enjoy a free history lecture on the first Thursday of the month, at Dundee City Archives. ...

What tartan can I wear?

Find out which tartan you can wear and discover which tartan is linked to your family name or the region ...

Other Articles

Moray student awarded scholarship for ground-breaking archaeology research

A Moray student is to undertake new research into the fate of farms which were set up on marginal land after ...

Two Scottish visitor attractions pass 2 million visitors landmark

Two of Scotland's most popular visitor attractions each welcomed more than 2 millions visitors during 2017, ...

The Tempest Database - exploring five centuries of extreme weather in Scotland

A new website which allows users to browse five centuries of weather data for Scotland and the rest of the UK ...

When is Tartan Day?

Find out when Tartan Day is, and how this special day is celebrated in Scotland, the original home of tartan, ...