In Print


Rinyo is the name given to a Neolithic settlement, close to the farm of Bigland in Sourin. It was discovered in the winter of 1937-8 by James Yorston junior, having found some upright slabs of rock protruding through the earth on the lower terraces of the Head of Faraclett in an area known as the Braes of Rinyo.

The site was properly excavated initially under the direction of Professor Vere Gordon Childe and Trumland Estate owner Walter G. Grant in 1938. The war years intervened, after which excavation resumed and finished in the summer of 1946. Remains of at least seven cellular houses of drystone construction, architecturally similar to those at Skara Brae, were found. The houses had central hearths and stone furniture, including beds and dressers, and there was also evidence for drainage. The finds consisted of numerous pot-sherds, including some of beaker ware, 250 flint implements including a polished knife; stone axes and balls, an ‘ovoid B’ stone mace-head, a mortar and potlids.

The Rinyo settlement was filled in and, unfortunately, little or nothing remains to denote its existence nowadays. Given the attraction that Skara Brae is today, and if Rinyo was preserved in a similar fashion, Rousay would have needed a much bigger boat to ferry the visiting masses in order to view such an interesting site!

Below are links to two extensive articles, extracted from the Proceedings of The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland – both of which can be found in the periodical section of Orkney Library & Archive under reference: 941.