Region : Orkney Home
Island : Hoy Map
Town or village : Rackwick List
Grid Reference : HY 243 004 Glossary
Period : 3rd millennium BC Bibliography
Dwarfie Stane

Dwarfie Stane image

The only chambered tomb known on the island of Hoy (Orkney) and the only rock-cut one in the British Isles. It consists of a huge block of red sandstone, 8.6long, with a short passage on the west side leading into a square chamber with a cell on either side.
The block's breadth varies from 3.9m to 4.4m and its height from 1m to 2m. The boulder outside the entrance is the original blocking stone. The marks of the stone tools used for hollowing the block are still visible inside the tomb.
Inside and outside the tomb are many later inscriptions. The earliest of them is 'H. Ross 1735'. Another one says, in beautiful Persian calligraphy, 'I have sat two nights and so learnt patience': it was inscibed in 1850 by Major W. Mouncey, who also carved his name backwards in Latin. He was a British spy and spent some time camped by the tomb.
In his novel The Pirate, Sir Walter Scott wrote: "This extraordinary dwelling, which Trolld, a dwarf famous in the northern Sagas, is said to have framed for his own favourite residence".
In care of Historic Scotland