MaeshoweOrkney Category Historic Sites
Maeshowe, considered to be one of the finest architectural achievements of prehistoric Europe, is across the road from Tormiston Mill. The mound, 35m in diameter and 7m high, consists mostly of packed stones and clay, with an inner layer of stones around the chamber itself. This chambered cairn was constructed with great care, the large dressed slabs being carefully set together and finished. The chamber is 4.5m square and about the same in height. A tapered orthostat faces each corner buttress giving an impression of space and strength. The whole impression is of majesty and the idea of a Neolithic cathedral comes to mind.
Maeshowe is the most spectacular and biggest of the Maeshowe-type chambered cairns. The quality of the construction, and size of the sandstone blocks used, together with the precision in quarrying and stone-cutting would tax the best builders today. Note how the orthostats at each corner appear to be free-standing and how much they resemble the monoliths at the Ring of Brodgar.