Powdykes, Westray

Powdykes, Westray

(Howa Tooer)

Powdykes chambered cairn, Westray
(Davidson & Henshall. 1989. The Chambered Cairns of Orkney)
Round cairn.
Stalled chamber – probably tripartite.
Notes:Positioned on the skyline, the oval cairn measures c 18m by 16m and is aligned east-south-east to west-north-west.

In 1928, it survived to a height of 1.2m, but this had been reduced by 1957.

According to Davidson and Henshall, four orthostats were visible in the centre of the cairn – presumably part of a chamber probably entered from the east. A short distance to the north-east of the presume divisional slabs was a substantial earthfast slab. Measuring over 0.4m long, its “function [was] not obvious.”

In 1982, however, the Royal Commission report that three stone slabs protruded about 0.3m above the top of the mound on the same alignment of its major axis.

Although the cairn is recorded as Powdykes, from the farm to its north-east, it was/is known locally as Howa Tooer – “mound tower”.
References:Davidson, J. L. & Henshall, A. S. (1989). The Chambered Cairns of Orkney. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.