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Dwarfie stane

Dwarfie stane on a lovely sunny day

‘Welcome everyone, to the tribe meeting on March 6th 3223 years BCA. As deputy chief, I will open this meeting. On the agenda is a brainstorm about the burial monument of our late chief. Right, any ideas about the chief’s tomb? Grund, Durk, Trom?’
‘Well Sipa, said Grund hesitatingly, I have been thinking…. I’m a bit bored with building another Meas How again. I mean, there are dozens of types of burial chambers here. Couldn’t we do something interesting, something new?’
‘Like what, do you have any ideas?’ Sipa askes while leaning back.
‘Well, I don’t know, something different. The chief was a creative person. I think he would appreciate something creative. Don’t you think?’ Grund asks while looking at the tribe members gathered around the fire.
All present grunts in approval.
‘OK, everyone seems to agree on something creative for the tomb of our late chief. But what? Let’s think outside of the box here……’ Sipa says slowly while looking invitingly to the tribesmen.
‘A cave on the west side overlooking the sea. That was his favourite view.’ Trom says with a tear in his eye.
‘A standing stone and a chamber underneath. That is what I would like.’ Grund grunts.
‘A stack at sea.’ pipes up Durk.
‘We can hollow out a cave in the stack….’ Trom adds to this idea.
‘We can do something in wood, that is quite special here on Hoy.’ says Durk with his high pitched voice.
‘Hmmmmm, I quite like the idea of a cave…but on a west-facing cliff overlooking the sea might be a bit difficult and very dangerous too. Any more ideas on caves?’ Sipa inquires.
‘Let’s hack into a cliff face on land! There is plenty of rock faces to choose from.’ Trom says while stroking his beard.
‘Yeah, like a tunnel!’ Durk squeaks enthusiastically.
‘We can make it big!’ Grund grunts while gesturing with his arms a massive space.
‘Yeah, we can all be buried there!’ Durk pipes with big eyes as if he can see the cave already in his mind’s eye.
‘OK, yes, I like the enthusiasm of everyone here but the chief wanted to be buried along with his favourite wife. We have to respect that.’ Sipa says earnestly.
‘Oh, not big then.’ Grunt says disappointed.
‘No, not big. Sipa confirms.
‘Right, a two-person then.’ Trom concludes.
‘Something along those lines, yes.’ Sipa answers.
‘You mean like a big rock size cave or something? Grunt grunts.
‘Yes, like a big rock, that is about the size for a two-person grave. You know, our late chief wasn’t a tall man.’ Sipa defines while indicating with his hand a small person.
‘Well, I got one laying around at my father’s house at the Ward-hill. I want to move it because it is a bit in the way. But it is too big to be moved, even with ten men!’ Grunt grunts practically.
‘I know that rock, it would easily fit two, not very tall people. I think even more than two.’ Trom agrees.
‘We must make a cave in that rock!’ Durk states bright-eyed.
‘Yeah, hollow it out. That has never been done before!’ Grunt grunts eagerly.
The 3 men look at Sipa with big expecting eyes.
‘OK, why not, a hollowed-out rock. I must say, that is a very original idea. I think our late chief will be very happy with this idea. Does everyone agree?’ Sipa said while looking around inquiringly.
They all nodded vigorously while looking at each other.
‘Then there is only the small matter of hollowing out the rock. How are we going to do that?’ Sipa considers.
‘I’ve some good howling stones at home, brand new!’ Grunt grunts.
‘And I’ve some pretty good antlers. We can start tomorrow!’ Trom colludes.
‘Right, that is settled then. As a working schedule, we can work on it as often as we can. How old is your son now, Durk? He can take over when you die. That will be the same for your son, Grunt. My son will marry your daughter, Trom. So, their children will finish the job. I think three generations will be sufficient time, what do you think?’
Trom, Durk and Grunt nod their heads and clap their hands in approval.
‘Lovely, that is settled. Sipa says while gathering his stuff,’I must say, I’m very happy with everyone’s input tonight and with the result. I think this memorial will last for a while. Thank you very much, gentlemen. I call this meeting closed. Where is the booze?’

And now I’m standing here 5241 years later looking at a hollowed-out rock and wonder why and how the ancient men decided it was a good idea to hollow out a rock. Why did they put so much time and effort into building this monument? I just think they must have had a meeting about it and I imagine it must have gone like this. Although my mum is convinced it must have been done by slave labour.

Dwarfi stane tombe on Hoy is not very big. You have to pull your legs up to fit.

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