Ancient Monuments

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Scar,Viking burials and settlement north east of,Sanday

A Scheduled Monument in North Isles, Orkney Islands

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Latitude: 59.2973 / 59°17'50"N

Longitude: -2.5684 / 2°34'6"W

OS Eastings: 367722

OS Northings: 1045788

OS Grid: HY677457

Mapcode National: GBR N405.42G

Mapcode Global: XH8KM.WK9W

Entry Name: Scar,Viking burials and settlement NE of,Sanday

Scheduled Date: 27 February 1995

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6162

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement; Secular: settlement, including deserted, depopulated

Location: Cross and Burness

County: Orkney Islands

Electoral Ward: North Isles

Traditional County: Orkney


The monument consists of an area of land from which a rich Viking boat burial was recovered in 1991, and within which other such burials may lie concealed, and a large mound representing a settlement of unknown but probably medieval date.

Although the upstanding remains are unimpressive, this site produced an exceptionally wealthy Viking Age boat burial, first noted in cliff erosion and excavated in 1991. It contained the bodies of a man, a woman and a child accompanied by grave goods. These finds are now in Tankerness House Museum, Kirkwall.

Detailed surface and sub-surface geophysical survey have suggested that other graves may lie nearby, although without excavation their quality cannot be assessed. In addition, a large mound located some 200m from the excavated burial site has all the appearance of a settlement of "farm-mound" type, normally taken to be of medieval date. Between the mound and the burial site are traces of enclosure walls and a low rectangular platform.

The area to be scheduled includes the mound, the burial site and possible further burial sites, the various enclosure walls and platform. Its boundaries have been determined by the results of sub- surface survey. It measures a maximum of 330m ENE-WSW by 100m, bounded on the NW by the foot of low cliffs at mean high water of spring tides, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance, and indeed international importance, as a proven Viking Age burial site with great potential (established as far as can be done without actual excavation) for the identification of further burials os similar period. Its importance is enhanced by the presence nearby of settlement remains which may originate at the same approximate date. The monument has the potential, through excavation and analysis, to provide information about Viking Age burial practices and material culture and about medieval agricultural settlement and domestic economy.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as HY64NE 7.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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