Saints and Stones: Maeshowe

Surrounded by a ditch and a bank, the Neolithic chambered cairn, Maeshowe (Maes Howe), was built sometime between 3000 and 2500 B.C.

Almost 24 feet high and 115 feet in diameter, it is one of the largest tombs in Scotland. Its entrance is a long passage some 36 feet in length that opens up to a large chamber some 15 feet square. Three of the four walls contain small chambers that may have contained burials. Maeshowe is aligned so that its central chamber is illuminated on the winter solstice.

In the 12th Century, Maeshowe was looted by the Vikings, who left a number of runic writings on the walls of the chamber, which may still be seen today.

About Maeshowe

Orkneyjar: Maeshowe
Undiscovered Scotland: Maes Howe
Stone Pages: Maes Howe
Megalithic Portal: Maes Howe
Wikipedia: Maeshowe
Orkneyjar: Orkney's Chambered Cairns

Journey to Maeshowe

The Maeshowe Chambered Cairn is located in the "Heart of Neolithic Orkney" -- an area of Orkney's West Mainland now designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site -- off the main Stromess-Kirkwall road (A965). Timed tickets are available at the Visitors Center (Tormiston Mill) on the A965, across the road from Maeshowe. Unfortunately, photos are not allowed inside of Maeshowe, but some of the links above have a few.

Ordnance Survey Map (HY318127)

Visitors Information

Visitors information may be found on the Historic Scotland website. General tourist information for Orkney may be found on the Visit Orkney website.

Additional Photos of Maeshowe

Maeshowe Chambered Cairn
Maeshowe Chambered Cairn
Maeshowe Chambered Cairn
Descriptive Sign for Maeshowe Chambered Cairn
Entrance to Maeshowe
Start of Long Passageway to Chamber
Rear of Maeshowe Chambered Cairn

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