MHG2529 - Norse Cemetery - Reay Links
No summary available.
Type and Period (1)
- CEMETERY (CULTURE 900; CULTURE 999; , Norse - 800 AD to 1300 AD)
- None recorded
NB GR given ids S of the road, refs to Drill hall shows should be N of road and close to corrected GR above - HAW 2/2003
NC96NE 13 973 640.
(Name centred: NC 9737 6508) Viking Burial found AD 1926 (NAT) OS 6"map, (1967)
Viking burials, probably indicating existence of a cemetery, have been found on the links of Reay, usually exposed by sand-blow.
Viking Club 1912.
A: In 1912, probably September, a skeleton with buckle of a horse bridle was found by James Forbes, grave-digger and postman who, assisted by District Inspector of Poor, collected the bones and buried them in Reay cemetery.
B: September 1913, a woman's grave, containing 2 10th century tortoise brooches, a bronze ring-headed pin, a bronze buckle, a steatite spindle whorl and iron bridle-bit, the ankle-bone of a small horse was found. An iron buckle and an iron cross, 1 5/8ins long were found soon afterwards within 2 or 3 yards of site and were probably associated.
1926 site was identified by many horse bones in sand. It had been placed beside a dry-stone wall c4ft in height and width, apparently part of a circular building of which about 12ft was uncovered, and shows above ground level. Finds are in NMAS (Acc Nos IL 335-9; 341-2)
C: August 1926, a male skeleton, complete from knees upwards, was found among sand-dunes not far from N side of the drill-hall at Reay. It lay full length on a paved surface with head slightly raised on a flat stone, and was surrounded and covered by large stones and sand. In bottom of grave there was a layer of dark sand mixed with pieces of slag and burnt iron. The grave-goods comprised an axe, shield boss knife, sickle, cleat-shaped object, nail-head and buckle all of iron; a bronze ring-headed pin, a whetstone and two pieces of flint - all of which are in NMAS (Acc. Nos. IL 365-371, 373-5) Wind-blow had also exposed traces of numerous graves 'or other regularly constructed works in stone' between dunes.
D: 1928, Edwards examined a small mound c160yards W of drill-hall and 22 yards N of road (ie. cNC 9720 6504) in which he discovered a long cist 8ft long x 2ft broad x 2ft deep, unpaved, and except for some red clay, entirely filled with sand. It lay NE-SW covered by small boulders and sand. No grave goods were found.
E: Also in 1928, Edwards discovered remains of two long cists 6ft long by 2ft wide and 1.5ft deep, on E side of Isauld Burn, between it and farm dyke The cists lay nearly E-W with head and side stones protruding above ground level. No grave goods were found, both cists being completely filled with earth.
D & E were discovered by Edwards during a search for further Viking burials, but beyond their form there is nothing to indicate that they were Viking.
A O Curle, M Olsen and H Shetelig 1954; J Curle 1914; A J H Edwards 1927; 1929;
None of the cists, structures, nor the mound of 'D' are visible. No further information. Visited by OS (N K B) 25 November 1964.
No change. Visited by OS (J B) 8 September 1981.
The iron cross has been re-interpreted as iron tweezers. <1>
Some of the finds were loaned to Dunbeath Heritage Museum and are on display there. These include the two oval brooches (IL 334-335), the ring pin (IL 336), the buckle (IL 337), the whorl (IL 328) and the horse bone (IL 376). <2>
- --- SHG1319 Text/Publication/Article: Curle, J. 1914. 'On recent Scandanavian grave-finds from the Island of Oronsay, and from Reay, Caithness, with notes on the development and chronology of the oval brooch of the Viking time', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 48 1913-14, p.292-315. Proc Soc Antiq Scot. 292-315. 295-8; figs. 5-10.
- --- SHG2295 Text/Publication/Volume: Grieg, S. 1940. Viking antiquities in Scotland. 19-24.
- --- SHG28278 Dataset/Database File: National Museums Scotland. 2019. Highland Finds from the NMS Catalogue. National Museums Scotland. Digital. IL 334-IL 339, IL 341-IL 342, IL 365-IL 371, IL 373-IL375.
- --- SHG3142 Text/Publication/Article: Fanning, T. 1983. Some aspects of the bronze ringed pin in Scotland. SHG23447. 324-42. 334-5, Nos 4, 5.
- --- SHG3189 Text/Publication/Article: Curle, Olsen and Shetelig, A O, M and H. 1954. Civilisation of the Viking settlers in relation to their old and new countries. 72 and 92.
- --- SHG3528 Text/Publication/Serial: Viking Society. 1912. Viking Club: Soc Northern Research, Vol 4, 1911-12. 20.
- --- SHG629 Text/Publication/Article: PSAS. 1914. 'Donations to and purchases for the Museum and Library, with exhibits', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 48 1913-14, p.11-17, 109-11, 193-4, 270-1, 336-8, 370-21. Proc Soc Antiq Scot. 11-17, 109-11, 193-4, 270. 17.
- --- SHG734 Text/Publication/Article: Edwards, A J H. 1927. 'Excavation of graves at Ackergill and of an earth-house at Freswick Links, Caithness, and a description of the discovery of a Viking grave at Reay, Caithness', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 61 1926-7, p.196-209. Proc Soc Antiq Scot. 196-209. 202-9; figs 8-12.
- --- SHG747 Text/Publication/Article: Edwards, A J H. 1929. 'Excavations at Reay Links and at a horned cairn at Lower Dounreay, Caithness', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 63 1928-9, p.138-50. Proc Soc Antiq Scot. 138-50. 139.
- <1> SHG22749 Text/Publication/Volume: Graham-Campbell, D, Batey, C. E.. 1998. Vikings in Scotland - An Archaeological Survey 1998. Graham-Campbell, D, Batey, C. E. Edinburgh University Press.. Paper (Original). pp. 125-7.
- <2> SHG28482 Text/Record Form/Project Recording Form: Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands (ARCH). 2019. Dunbeath Heritage Centre Archives.
|Grid reference||Centred NC 9728 6507 (225m by 121m) (Buffered by site type)|
- BUCKLE (Norse - 800 AD to 1300 AD)
- BROOCH (Norse - 800 AD to 1300 AD)
- ANIMAL REMAINS (Norse - 800 AD to 1300 AD)
- CROSS? (Norse - 800 AD to 1300 AD)
- SLAG (Norse - 800 AD to 1300 AD)
- AXEHEAD (Norse - 800 AD to 1300 AD)
- KNIFE (Norse - 800 AD to 1300 AD)
- SICKLE (Norse - 800 AD to 1300 AD)
- NAIL (Norse - 800 AD to 1300 AD)
- WHETSTONE (Norse - 800 AD to 1300 AD)
- LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Norse - 800 AD to 1300 AD)
- SHIELD (Norse - 800 AD to 1300 AD)
- BRIDLE FITTING (Norse - 800 AD to 1300 AD)
- BRIDLE BIT (Norse - 800 AD to 1300 AD)
- TWEEZERS? (Norse - 800 AD to 1300 AD)
- CLEAT? (Norse - 800 AD to 1300 AD)
- UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Norse - 800 AD to 1300 AD)
- HUMAN REMAINS (Norse - 800 AD to 1300 AD)
- BUCKLE (Norse - 800 AD to 1300 AD)
- PIN (Norse - 800 AD to 1300 AD)
- SPINDLE WHORL (Norse - 800 AD to 1300 AD)
Related Monuments/Buildings (0)
Related Investigations/Events (0)
External Links (1)
- https://canmore.org.uk/site/7252 (View RCAHMS Canmore entry for this site)
Comments and Feedback
Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.