Blackhammer Chambered Tomb
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
Blackhammer is a 'stalled' cairn; that is, the cairn is formed around a rectangular central chamber, with upright slabs of stone dividing the space into stalls, or compartments. The original entrance to the rectangular inner chamber was via a long, narrow passage, but modern visitors descend a ladder in the roof.
The inner chamber was originally divided into seven stalls, but sometime later four of the upright slabs were removed to make way for a large wall across the middle of the chamber.
When Blackhammer was excavated the remains of two skeletons were found, one in the westernmost compartment and one in the entrance passage. Along with the skeletons were fragments of pottery, tools made of flint and stone, and pieces of animal bone.
It isn't clear whether these finds were intended as grave goods, perhaps because the deceased person had used them in life, or whether they were part of a ritual observance.
Given the size of the cairn and the number of stalls, it seems odd that only two skeletons were discovered. One reasonable theory is that the cairns acted as a cemetery for local communities over the course of centuries, and the communities probably cleared out older remains when new burials were made.
I found Blackhammer very impressive, and it helped that the modern windows let enough light into the interior to see properly! It was a bit disconcerting to see the walls of the chamber reinforced with concrete, but at least the modern materials make the cairn stable and allow visitors such as our family to experience it today.
Blackhammer is one of 4 Neolithic cairns along the southern coast of Rousay, including nearby Taversoe Tuick, Knowe of Yarso, and, a little further west, the impressive 'Ship of Death' at Midhowe.
Most photos are available for licensing, please contact Britain Express image library.
About Blackhammer Chambered Tomb
Address: Tratland, Rousay, Orkney, Highlands and Islands, Scotland
Attraction Type: Prehistoric Site
Location: On the B9064 2 miles west of the Trumland ferry landing. Signposted. Free entry.
Website: Blackhammer Chambered Tomb
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Opening Details: Open access site, usually accessible at any reasonable time
We've 'tagged' this attraction information to help you find related historic attractions and learn more about major time periods mentioned.
Find other attractions tagged with:
Neolithic (Architecture) -
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Knowe of Yarso Chambered Cairn - 0.6 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Taversoe Tuick Chambered Cairn - 0.7 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Cubbie Row's Castle - 1.9 miles (Castle)
Broch of Gurness - 2.1 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Midhowe Chambered Cairn - 3.1 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Midhowe Broch - 3.2 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Eynhallow Church - 3.5 miles (Historic Church)
St Magnus Church - 3.7 miles (Historic Church)
Nearest Holiday Cottages to Blackhammer Chambered Tomb:
Nearby accommodation is calculated 'as the crow flies' from Blackhammer Chambered Tomb. 'Nearest' may involve a long drive up and down glens or, if you are near the coast, may include a ferry ride! Please check the property map to make sure the location is right for you.
St Margaret's Hope, Highlands and Islands
Stay from: £1195.00 - 3185.00
John o Groats, Highlands and Islands
Stay from: £2203.00 - 8066.00
Halkirk, Highlands and Islands
Stay from: £242.00 - 1138.00