Excavation of Stalled Cairn at Point of Cott, Westray, Orkney


by John Barber

Point of CottAbout one third of this cliff-edge site had been lost to coastal erosion when it was excavated in 1984 and in situ preservation was not possible. Full excavation facilitated detailed analysis of the architecture and depositional history of the site while extensive radiocarbon dating demonstrated intermittent use for inhumation and constant exploitation of the site by otters, dogs, birds and latterly by rabbits. The site's interpretation implies, inter alia, that chambered cairns were easily erected and as easily lost from the field record; that inhumation was the common burial practice and that totemism did not form part of the Neolithic rituals associated with chambered cairns.

Date of publication: 1997   ISBN: 0 9519344 3 0   Pages: 96   Illustrations: 24 (B&W)   Plates: 8 (Colour)

Download the PDF report