Scheduled Monument

Scar,Viking burials and settlement NE of,SandaySM6162

Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (


Date Added
Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement (if not assigned to any more specific type), Secular: Viking graves (pagan); Viking settlement, Norse settlement; settlement, including deserted and depopulated and townships
Local Authority
Orkney Islands
Cross And Burness
HY 67722 45788
367722, 1045788


The monument consists of an area of land from which a rich Viking boat burial was recovered in 1991, and within which other such burials may lie concealed, and a large mound representing a settlement of unknown but probably medieval date.

Although the upstanding remains are unimpressive, this site produced an exceptionally wealthy Viking Age boat burial, first noted in cliff erosion and excavated in 1991. It contained the bodies of a man, a woman and a child accompanied by grave goods. These finds are now in Tankerness House Museum, Kirkwall.

Detailed surface and sub-surface geophysical survey have suggested that other graves may lie nearby, although without excavation their quality cannot be assessed. In addition, a large mound located some 200m from the excavated burial site has all the appearance of a settlement of "farm-mound" type, normally taken to be of medieval date. Between the mound and the burial site are traces of enclosure walls and a low rectangular platform.

The area to be scheduled includes the mound, the burial site and possible further burial sites, the various enclosure walls and platform. Its boundaries have been determined by the results of sub- surface survey. It measures a maximum of 330m ENE-WSW by 100m, bounded on the NW by the foot of low cliffs at mean high water of spring tides, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance, and indeed international importance, as a proven Viking Age burial site with great potential (established as far as can be done without actual excavation) for the identification of further burials os similar period. Its importance is enhanced by the presence nearby of settlement remains which may originate at the same approximate date. The monument has the potential, through excavation and analysis, to provide information about Viking Age burial practices and material culture and about medieval agricultural settlement and domestic economy.



RCAHMS records the monument as HY64NE 7.

About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for the designation of buildings, monuments, gardens and designed landscapes and historic battlefields. We also advise Scottish Ministers on the designation of historic marine protected areas.

Scheduling is the way that a monument or archaeological site of national importance is recognised by law through the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments of national importance using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The description and map showing the scheduled area is the legal part of the scheduling. The additional information in the scheduled monument record gives an indication of the national importance of the monument(s). It is not a definitive account or a complete description of the monument(s). The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief and some information will not have been recorded. Scheduled monument consent is required to carry out certain work, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Applications for scheduled monument consent are made to us. We are happy to discuss your proposals with you before you apply and we do not charge for advice or consent. More information about consent and how to apply for it can be found on our website at

Find out more about scheduling and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8716 or at


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Printed: 18/04/2019 17:22