Subscribe to Archaeology

Neolithic Passage Tomb Studied in Scotland

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Scotland Passage Tomb

ORKNEY, SCOTLAND—According to a report in The Scotsman, Jay van der Reijden of the University of Highlands and Islands has conducted a new study of Maeshowe, a 5,000-year-old stone-built passage grave located in the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site. The tomb’s long, narrow passageway, which is aligned with the setting sun of the winter solstice, leads to a large, central chamber. Van der Reijden says the manner of the construction of the three side chambers, where the dead were laid to rest, suggests the rooms were situated in the underworld. “Visualize the wall-stones are like wallpapers, and when you repeatedly hang them upside down in distinct locations patterns become discernible,” she said. “The swaps include the reversal of multiple architectural features normally placed on the righthand side being on the left only inside the side chambers.” In this scenario, the walls of the main chamber separate this life from the afterlife, which is represented by the side chambers. Placing the dead in these rooms may have facilitated their passage to the netherworld, van der Reijden explained. To read about a passage tomb in Ireland's Boyne Valley, go to "Passage to the Afterlife."

Advertisement

Advertisement


Advertisement