About Orkney
 About the Site
 Search Site 
  The Taversoe Tuick, Rousay

The Upper Chamber

Taversoe Tuick Entrance: Picture by Sigurd Towrie

Although it was originally thought that the upper chamber was added as an afterthought, site excavations have shown it was part of the original design.

The upper chamber was built on top of the original burial chamber, with access provided by a north facing passage, 3.4 metres long, 90cm wide and 90cm high.

Measuring 4.7 metres long by 1.9 metres wide, the chamber, which is now covered by a modern roof, is divided into two round-ended compartments — a smaller one in the north-eastern section and a main chamber, which is further sub-divided into two compartments.

Rounded compartment in upper chamber. Picture S. Towrie

The chamber's floor was made up of five massive stone lintels, leveled off using clay. Although a gap in this floor now allows visitors to access to the lower chamber, by ladder, when the cairn was in use this was not possible - each chamber was only accessible via its own entrance passage.

During the excavation of the site, three stone cists were uncovered in a layer of earth in the chamber's western compartment.

These were found to contain the cremated remains of one or more adults and a child. As well as a wealth of pottery, two cattle shoulder blades were unearthed in the chamber's entrance passage.

The entrance to the upper chamber was also found to have been carefully blocked off after the cairn was used for the last time.

Section Contents
Orkney's Chambered
Building the Cairns
How were they used?
Unstan Ware and Grooved Ware
Were the Cairns Designed for Sound?

Isbister - The Tomb of the Eagles
Cuween Cairn
Quoyness, Sanday
Wideford Hill
Unstan Cairn
Crantit Cairn
Midhowe, Rousay
Taversoe Tuick
Cairn Layout
The Upper Chamber
The Lower Chamber
The Outer Chamber - Communicating with the dead?
Blackhammer Cairn

Back a page