Artefacts from one of Orkney’s most popular archaeological attractions are back on display for the first time since 2020.
Found close to the cliff edge in South Ronaldsay, the Tomb of the Eagles was discovered by local farmer Ronnie Simison in the 1950s. Inside he found human remains and artefacts that had been placed there more than 5000-years-ago.
Ronnie’s family ran the site as a private attraction for many years, welcoming thousands of visitors keen to explore this unique part of Orcadian history. Unfortunately, the Tomb closed its doors for good during the COVID-19 pandemic with no current plans for it to reopen.
Now, in recognition of the importance of the artefacts found there, the site owners have worked closely with Orkney Islands Council to transfer responsibility for the collection to the local authority’s museums team, alongside the Treasure Trove Unit at National Museums Scotland. This means the finds will once again be on display for the benefit of the local community and visitors to the islands.
“Our experienced curatorial team are very aware of the importance of this site and its story to both the people of South Ronaldsay and visitors to Orkney,” said Nick Hewitt, Team Manager for the Council’s Museums Service.
“We’ve been working hard to make sure that elements of the collection are available to the public again. Over the longer term we’ll continue working with the Simison family and other key stakeholders to try and identify a sustainable future for this much-loved site.
“Meanwhile I want to express huge gratitude to the Simison family for their support and encouragement in building on the collection of Neolithic artefacts held by the Museum on behalf of the Orkney community - and indeed enthusiasts worldwide.”
Find out more about visiting the Orkney Museum.