Archaeologists have studied “twisted” Stone Age tombs in Scotland

Reconstruction of the interior of the Neolithic Maeshowe Tomb in Scotland allowed archaeologists to find out that the builders of the complex erected burial chambers upside down and facing from right to left – probably, this is how they were marked as belonging to the afterlife. The study of turned-up tombs appeared in the Archaeological Review from Cambridge.

The Maeshowe is a corridor-type tomb and a famous Neolithic monument. The object, located on the Orkney Archipelago, was built about five thousand years ago and is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Creators of the unique archeological site were representatives of unknown people, who belonged to the culture of grooved pottery.

“Judging by the inner structure of the tomb’s premises, the burial chambers seem to have been turned inside out, if we compare them to ordinary Neolithic structures. Probably, this is how the builders of the complex wanted to emphasize that the tombs belong to the other world,” says Jay Van Der Reiden of the University of the Highlands and Islands.

The researchers noted that the central “hall” is made in the usual rather than “turned” style – this once again emphasizes that the construction of the object carefully followed the ritual rules. “Stones in the walls of the burial chambers are laid upside down, plus some interior details, which in Neolithic buildings are usually located to the left of the entrance. But the hall is devoid of these features,” the scientists specify.