"Maes Howe" Top 5 Page for this destination Scotland Off The Beaten Path Tip by margaretvn

Scotland Off The Beaten Path: 260 reviews and 423 photos

  Maes Howe
by margaretvn

Maes Howe on Orkney is Britain's most impressive chambered tomb, and we had wanted to see it for years. We had been to Newgrange in Ireland and enjoyed it so much that Maes howe was not to be missed for us ? but it is an off the beaten path place really.
It dates back to 2000 BC. Inside there is graffiti which is believed to have been left by the Norsemen returning from the crusades in 1150. It is also thought to be linked with the chambered tomb at North Grange in Ireland.
Tombs for the ancestors played a dominant role in the lifes of the early farming communities. They were built to last the centuries. The houses of Skara Brae consist of a square room with cells opening off it, just as the tomb of Maes Howe has a square burial chamber with side cells. It is estimated that some 500 stone built tombs survived in Scotland but few are intact. This is partly because in 19th century it was easier to break in through the roof than to find the entrance or because they were used later as handy sources of building stone. In Maes Howe there is a long terrifying journey through a low narrow passage which ends in a high, burial chamber. It is really a magnificent tomb and is thought to have been the last resting place of a great chieftain and as such was built in the heart of Orkney close to the ceremonial complex of the Brodgar and the Stenness stone circles.

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  • Updated Jan 11, 2004
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