Ancient Monuments

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South Seatter, mound 220m NNE of, Yesnaby

A Scheduled Monument in West Mainland, Orkney Islands

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Latitude: 59.0275 / 59°1'38"N

Longitude: -3.3362 / 3°20'10"W

OS Eastings: 323392

OS Northings: 1016368

OS Grid: HY233163

Mapcode National: GBR L44W.0GW

Mapcode Global: WH69M.QCJ9

Entry Name: South Seatter, mound 220m NNE of, Yesnaby

Scheduled Date: 12 October 1937

Last Amended: 26 March 2014

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM1380

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: mound (ritual or funerary)

Location: Sandwick

County: Orkney Islands

Electoral Ward: West Mainland

Traditional County: Orkney


The monument is the remains of a burial mound dating probably from the Bronze Age (between 2000 and 800 BC). The monument is visible as an upstanding, circular, turf-covered earthen mound, measuring 16m in diameter and surviving to a height of 0.7m. No cist is visible today, but records indicate that a stone cist was found here in 1882 and a cist (possibly that observed in 1882) with a capstone was recorded in situ in 1966. A stone setting, 5m SE of the mound, may be the remains of a further cist burial. The slight remains of a possible outer bank are visible around the W and SW sides of the mound, around 4m from its present edge. The monument occupies a conspicuous location on a low-lying ridge at 50-55m above OD, 1km SE of the sea at Borwick. The monument was first scheduled in 1937, but the documentation did not meet modern standards: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The scheduled area is circular on plan and measures 40m in diameter. It includes the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of funerary and burial practice in the Bronze Age. Burial mounds and earthen barrows form an important and relatively widespread element of Orkney's Bronze Age landscape, and provide evidence for the major social and economic changes which took place during this period. Although disturbed in antiquity, the mound at South Seatter retains its field characteristics to a marked degree and is a significant example of its type. It is of larger than average size and survives relatively intact. At least one cist has been recorded within the mound and a possible further cist lies 5m to the SE. Excavation of similar sites elsewhere in Orkney also demonstrates that this mound has the potential to contain one or more burials and associated features, such as the remains of funeral pyres or mortuary structures. Orkney's barrows are unusual in Scotland, and important within a British context, as the majority are earthen mounds as opposed to stone-built cairns. The significance of the South Seatter mound is enhanced by its association with a wider landscape of Bronze Age burial monuments located between the Loch of Skaill and the west coast of Orkney Mainland in the parish of Sandwick, which has one of the most important concentrations of such monuments in Orkney. Our understanding of the dating, form, function and distribution of Bronze Age barrows would be diminished if this monument was to be lost or damaged.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as HY21NW 2.


Downes, J 1995, 'Linga Fold', Current Archaeology, 142, 396-399.

Downes, J 1997, The Orkney Barrows Project survey results and management strategy. Unpublished report to Historic Scotland. ARCUS, University of Sheffield.

Ordnance Survey (Name Book) Object Name Books of the Ordnance Survey (6 inch and 1/2500 scale) Book No. 17, 152.

RCAHMS 1946, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Twelfth report with an inventory of the ancient monuments of Orkney and Shetland, 3v, Edinburgh, 267, no 716.

Towrie, S 2013, 'The Knowes o' Trotty',> [accessed August 2013].

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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