Ancient Monuments

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Auskerry, settlement 165m SSW of Loch of Dinnapow

A Scheduled Monument in North Isles, Orkney Islands

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Latitude: 59.0332 / 59°1'59"N

Longitude: -2.5694 / 2°34'9"W

OS Eastings: 367414

OS Northings: 1016375

OS Grid: HY674163

Mapcode National: GBR N40V.PLZ

Mapcode Global: WH8D8.H6PY

Entry Name: Auskerry, settlement 165m SSW of Loch of Dinnapow

Scheduled Date: 11 December 2014

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM13389

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: mound (domestic or defensive)

Location: Stronsay

County: Orkney Islands

Electoral Ward: North Isles

Traditional County: Orkney


The monument comprises the remains of a settlement dating probably to the Iron Age or early historic period (between about 600 BC and AD 800). It survives as a roughly oval, amorphous stony mound, measuring approximately 28m N-S by 23m E-W and standing up to 1m high. A spread of large stones and slabs lies on the surface of the mound and several earthfast upright slabs are visible protruding through the turf, indicating the presence of an underlying structure or structures. Other stone debris is visible around the perimeter of the mound. The monument is situated inland on the island of Auskerry, at around 10m above sea level, surrounded by low-lying boggy ground. The monument was originally scheduled in 1955, but the documentation did not meet modern standards: the present amendment rectifies this.

The scheduled area is circular on plan, measuring 36m in diameter, as shown in red on the accompanying map. 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.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant contribution to our understanding of the past, in particular, Iron Age or early historic settlement in Orkney. Given the size and good state of preservation of this settlement mound, there is significant potential for the survival of important structures, features and archaeological deposits which can enhance our understanding of settlement, land-use and agriculture in later prehistory. The presence of a nearby burnt mound provides an opportunity to study the temporal and spatial relationship between two different settlement types and changes over time. The importance of the monument is enhanced by its possible association with a similar settlement mound some 450m to the SE, both of which are traditionally known as 'Monkshouses', and because it is a relatively rare and little studied class of site compared to the impressive Iron Age brochs and or earlier Neolithic settlements of Orkney. It is one of a number of prehistoric monuments in Auskerry, a relatively remote Orkney island: studied together, the Auskerry monuments have high potential to inform us about changes in settlement, daily life and agriculture during prehistory over several millennia. The loss of the monument would diminish our ability to understand settlement and society in Iron Age Orkney.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Other information

RCAHMS records the site as HY61NE 2 and HY61NE 20.


Calder, C S T 1939, 'Excavations of Iron Age dwellings on the Calf of Eday in Orkney', Proc Soc Antiq Scot 73, 167-84.

RCAHMS Notebook, Orkney, no 1, 12 June 1928 (= Corrie's description as mentioned by Lamb in RCAHMS 1984. Unfortunately, this record cannot now be located in RCAHMS).

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, 337, no 1001.

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, 33, no 189.

Ritchie, A 1976-7, 'Excavation of Pictish and Viking-age farmsteads at Buckquoy, Orkney', Proc Soc Antiq Scot 108, 174-227.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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