Ancient Monuments

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Auskerry, three standing stones

A Scheduled Monument in North Isles, Orkney Islands

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Latitude: 59.0322 / 59°1'55"N

Longitude: -2.5751 / 2°34'30"W

OS Eastings: 367089

OS Northings: 1016269

OS Grid: HY670162

Mapcode National: GBR N40V.M1W

Mapcode Global: WH8D8.F70P

Entry Name: Auskerry, three standing stones

Scheduled Date: 11 December 2014

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM13390

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: standing stone

Location: Stronsay

County: Orkney Islands

Electoral Ward: North Isles

Traditional County: Orkney


The monument comprises three standing stones dating probably to the Bronze Age (second millennium BC). The standing stones appear to form an alignment running NE-SW across the N half of the island of Auskerry. The northernmost stone is a massive slab, broken towards its base and now mostly recumbent, which would have stood around 3.5m high when erect, and is approximately 1.15m in width and up to 0.2m thick. Part of the broken stone is still in situ and its original socket and packing stones survive. The second stone stands 230m to the SW on a NE-facing hillside. It stands around 2.5m high, is up to 1.2m wide and faces N-S. There is a rectangular depression at the base of the stone and several packing stones are visible. The stone leans slightly to the N. On the same alignment, some 2.4m to the E, several small earthfast stones, previously interpreted as packing stones, may indicate the former presence of another standing stone. The third stone is 215m SW of the second. It comprises a slab set on edge in a slight depression, with packing stones at its base. This stone faces E-W, stands just over 1m in height and is an average of 0.5m wide. Larger slabs laid horizontally at its base on the E and W sides probably relate to the re-erection of the stone in the recent past.

The scheduled area comprises three circles centred on the three stones, each measuring 10m in diameter. The scheduling includes the stones described above and an area around each of them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction and use is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduled area specifically excludes the above-ground elements of any post-and-wire fences.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

This monument is of national importance as a well-preserved example of an alignment of standing stones. The alignment of three stones, and the impressive size of the NE stone, make this a particularly interesting and unusual example of standing stones in Orkney. Although the largest stone is now recumbent, the other two stones still stand in their original positions and the alignment is clearly visible. There is high potential for the presence of buried archaeological deposits and features in the sockets and around the bases of the stones. The monument has the potential to enhance our understanding of social and ceremonial activities, and the beliefs of the prehistoric people who built and used these sites. The stones are a highly visible focal point in the rich archaeological landscape of the island of Auskerry. The loss of this example would impede our ability to understand the nature of prehistoric belief and ritual in Orkney and further afield. It would also impede our ability to understand the placing and function of such monuments within the landscape.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monuments as HY61NE 4, HY61NE 5 and HY61NE 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, 337, no 1002.

RCAHMS 1984, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The archaeological sites and monuments of Eday and Stronsay, Orkney Islands Areas. The archaeological sites and monuments of Scotland series no 23. Edinburgh, 32-33, nos 180,183,184.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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