Ancient Monuments

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Stone of Setter, standing stone and enclosure, Eday

A Scheduled Monument in North Isles, Orkney Islands

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Latitude: 59.2191 / 59°13'8"N

Longitude: -2.7645 / 2°45'52"W

OS Eastings: 356457

OS Northings: 1037186

OS Grid: HY564371

Mapcode National: GBR M4JC.J92

Mapcode Global: XH8KY.9JWW

Entry Name: Stone of Setter, standing stone and enclosure, Eday

Scheduled Date: 10 October 1936

Last Amended: 20 October 2014

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM4299

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: enclosure (domestic or defensive); Prehistoric ritual and funera

Location: Eday

County: Orkney Islands

Electoral Ward: North Isles

Traditional County: Orkney


The monument is a standing stone, a ritual or ceremonial monument, dating probably to the late Neolithic or Bronze Age (the late third or second millennium BC). The stone is a massive sandstone block standing approximately 4.5m high, 2.1m wide and 0.5m thick, with extensive weathering. The stone is aligned roughly E-W. A bisected or double circular enclosure measuring around 10.6m in diameter lies immediately NE of the standing stone. The monument is situated almost in the centre of Eday, on high ground at about 25m above sea level, overlooking the Bay of Carrick and Calf Sound, with wide seaward views to the NE towards the Calf of Eday. The monument was first scheduled in 1936, but the documentation did not meet modern standards: the present amendment rectifies this.

The scheduled area is rectangular on plan, measuring 40m NE-SW by 30m transversely, to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's use and re-use is likely to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduled area extends up to, but does not include, the post-and-wire fence to the SW of the standing stone.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

This monument is of national importance because it is a well-preserved and very impressive example of an individual standing stone, the tallest in Orkney apart from the Stones of Stenness, and a famous landmark. Though weathered, it is in generally good condition and still stands in its original socket. By analogy with excavations at other standing stones (such as Carlinwell in Angus), there is high potential for the survival of human remains and other important archaeological evidence beneath and around the Stone of Setter. These can inform our understanding of the dating, method of erection, how the stone was used and the nature of the environment at the time it was erected. Overall, the Stone of Setter has high potential to enhance our understanding of social and ceremonial activities in prehistoric times, and the beliefs of the people that built and used these sites. This standing stone, located in such a prominent position, also has the potential to inform our knowledge about the value attributed to such monuments in later times, perhaps showing some continuity of function in marking a route-way or territory. Its significance is enhanced by its close proximity to a number of other important prehistoric monuments in the wider landscape of Eday, including several chambered tombs, and by its possible association with the adjacent enclosure. The loss of this monument would impede our ability to understand the nature of prehistoric belief and ritual, both in Orkney and further afield, and the placing and function of such monuments within the landscape.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland




RCAHMS records the monument as HY53NE 6 and HY53NE 15.

Johnson, M 2012, 'Urned cremation burials at Carlinwell standing stone, Airlie, Angus', Tayside Fife Archaeol J 18, 1-14.

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, 53-4, no 212.

RCAHMS 1984, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The archaeological sites and monuments of Eday and Stronsay, Orkney Islands Area, The archaeological sites and monuments of Scotland series 23, Edinburgh, 11, no 19.

Ritchie, A 1996, Orkney and Shetland, Exploring Scotland's Heritage series, Edinburgh.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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