Tomb of the Eagles

Orkney, United Kingdom

The Tomb of the Eagles, or Isbister Chambered Cairn, is a Neolithic chambered tomb. First explored by Ronald Simison, a farmer, when digging flagstones in 1958, he conducted his own excavations at the site in 1976. Alerted by Simison, archaeologist John Hedges then mounted a full study, prepared a technical report and wrote a popular book that cemented the tomb's name.

16,000 human bones were found at the site, as well as 725 from birds. These were identified as predominantly belonging to the white-tailed sea eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) and represented between 8 and 20 individuals. These were originally interpreted as a foundation deposit, however this interpretation has been challenged by new dating techniques. These reveal that the eagles died c. 2450–2050 BC, up to 1,000 years after the building of the tomb. This confirms growing evidence from other sites that the neolithic tombs of Orkney remained in use for many generations.

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Address

B9041, Orkney, United Kingdom
See all sites in Orkney

Details

Founded: 3000 BC
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in United Kingdom

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Tom G (2 years ago)
Unfortunately the gate was shut and there is a sign informing “permanently closed”
Beth Simpson (5 years ago)
The two ladies that do the talks before you leave the centre are so wonderful and informative and the tomb itself is beautiful with a fun skateboard ride on your belly to enter the tomb. Cliff views are excellent and if you are lucky you can be escorted by two fluffy tour guides.
James Ford (5 years ago)
If you know you like this kind of history then you won't regret coming along to see this amazing experience going back in time. The experience starts with a small talk on the tomb itself with a show case of a multitude of artefacts found within the tomb and the surrounding area like tools, jewellery and human remains. There is also a brief talk on a bronze age site that was also uncovered. After the talks you can then walk out to meet the sites in person. The bronze age site comes first with the tomb of eagles right down at the sea. I loved it....
David Johnson (5 years ago)
Great visitor centre, nice walk and saw baby seals on the beach on the way back
Nick Cook (5 years ago)
A fantastic family run attraction, dog friendly, novel way of entering the tomb. Seals in the sea on the scenic walk back.
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