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The Ancestors - Neolithic Orkney - Tomb of the Eagles and Tomb of the Otters



Type of Spiritual Experience


Tomb of the Eagles and Tomb of the Otters

The Tomb of the Eagles, or Isbister Chambered Cairn, is a Neolithic chambered tomb located on a cliff edge at Isbister on South Ronaldsay in Orkney, Scotland. First explored by Ronald Simison, a farmer, when digging flagstones in 1958, he conducted his own excavations at the site in 1976. Alerted by Simison, archaeologist John Hedges then mounted a full study.

16,000 human bones were found at the site, as well as 725 from birds. These were identified as predominantly belonging to the white-tailed sea eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) and represented [according to Wikipedia] between 8 and 20 individuals. Other accounts put the figure as high as 35.  The eagles died c. 2450–2050 BCE, up to 1,000 years after the building of the tomb. This confirms growing evidence from other sites that the Neolithic tombs of Orkney remained in use for many generations.

Normally when a person is buried with an animal or bird, it means this animal was their 'familiar' but to have a sea eagle as a familiar is something else entirely - they are the size of hang gliders, just imagine having one of those hanging off your shoulder - you really would fly. As it says in the book "The Bird goddesses" this is" just another of those tell tale signs revealing a lost ancient connection between birds and the goddess".  There is also the Tomb of the Otters and a tomb with 24 dog skulls.



A description of the experience


The white-tailed eagle is a very large bird. It measures 66–94 cm (26–37 in) in length with a 1.78–2.45 m (5.8–8.0 ft) wingspan. The wingspan, with a midpoint of 2.18 m (7.2 ft), is on average the largest of any eagle.

The source of the experience

The Ancestors

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps