Possibly Maeshowe-type and Orkney-Cromarty
|Notes:||In the late 1970s, a survey of the Toftsness peninsula recorded three large, round mounds dominating the skyline – 26m to 33m in diameter and surviving up to 2.8m high.|
The survey, by county archaeologist Raymond Lamb, also recorded a rectilinear mound, c20m long and 0.5m high. At the time, there was no evidence that any of the mounds were chambered cairns.
However, Dr William Wood provides an account that suggests at least one in the area:
“Toftsness, the northernmost point of Sanday, appears to have been a well-peopled settlement, from the numerous ruins which are still to be seen. The greater part of the Ness has been enclosed with a chain of forts, which were connected by a stone wall.
“Within this wall, the ground has been covered with buildings of various sizes: circles of stones set on edge, with, frequently, an upright central stone, are still to be seen, and numerous graves lined with flat stones, and also surrounded by small circles of stones. Several of these graves have been opened; some of them contain human bones, others contain only ashes; in many of them, deers’ horns have been found.
“One of the forts on the wall was examined a few years ago. It measured, inside, 16 feet in length, and 6 [feet] in width; the walls were 8 feet in height, and from 4 to 5 feet in thickness; at the height of 6 feet from the foundation, the stones, inside, were laid so as the upper stone overlapped the one immediately beneath, thus contracting the opening above, which was roofed over with large flat stones.
“All the stones in this building were large flat stones from the beach. The wall was regular and firmly built. There was no clay nor cement of any kind. A deer’s horn was found in this building, and several fragments of bones.” 
An area of Toftsness was investigated between 1985 and 1988. Using a combination of selective excavation and geophysical survey, the excavators revealed a domestic and funerary landscape and multi-period settlement spanning the Neolithic through to the early Iron Age. 
The investigation focused on one mound, so the possible chambered cairns (mounds 5, 6 and 7) were not excavated. However, the excavators suggested “a burial context is a possibility for Mounds 5 and 6, perhaps representing chambered tombs of the Maeshowe type.”
Geophysical survey of Mounds 6 and 7 did “not contradict an interpretation that the mounds were originally burial tombs, but both sites have clear evidence for possible later exploitation as habitation. It is conceivable that the prominent mounds provided a source of building stone and raised ground standing proud of a generally wet landscape.”
Two sub-rectangular mounds (Mounds 2 and 3) measuring approximately 20m by 10m and 18m by 12m may represent similar structures to that documented by Wood in the 19th century.
The confirmed presence of Bronze Age burials in the north-eastern periphery of Toftsness adds weight to the idea that at least one of the mounds represents a chambered cairn. If so, this suggests a continuity of funerary tradition from the Neolithic through to the Bronze Age – as is the case around Egmondshowe.
Working Stone – Toftsness
|References:|| Davidson, J. L. & Henshall, A. S. (1989). The Chambered Cairns of Orkney. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.|
 Traill, W. (1845) The New Statistical Account of Scotland. Lady, Orkney, Vol. 15., Edinburgh: Blackwoods and Sons, 1845, p. 136.
 Dockrill, S., Bond, J. M., Nicholson, R., and Smith, A. (2007) Tofts Ness, An Island Landscape through 3000 years of Prehistory: Investigations in Sanday, Orkney Volume 2. Kirkwall, The Orcadian, in association with Historic Scotland: Kirkwall.