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 (

The legal document available for download below constitutes the formal designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The additional details provided on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not form part of the designation. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within this additional information.


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 designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map (see ‘legal documents’ above) showing the scheduled area is the designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary and provided for general information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within the statement of national importance or additional information. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

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 8914 or at


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Printed: 08/12/2023 23:08