The prehistoric ruins detailed here are all located on the south-west coast of Rousay next to the road. They are described in the order you meet them as you go away from the ferry port.
Taversoe Tuick is an unusual two-storey neolithic cairn. The upper level is covered by a concrete dome and you climb down to the lower level.
Blackhammer is a quite long stalled neolithic chambered cairn with seven compartments, spolied slightly by the concrete roof.
The Knowe of Yarso further along the road is set a short walk above the road with attractive views across the straits. It is another long-ish 4 stalled stalled cairn with a less intrusive roof.
Midhowe Cairn is a huge stalled tomb, lying parallel to the shore further along the coast. Known by archaeologists as *The Great Ship of Death it is perhaps one of the most significant prehistoric sites in Orkney.
The cairn's outer wall-face was carefully arranged in a herringbone pattern. The tomb is now protected under a shed and its sophisticated structure can be viewed also from a overhead walkway. The rectangular burial chamber, 23.4m long, is divided by pairs of upright slabs into 12 compartments. Along the eastern wall of the compartments the remains of 25 people were found. Some of them had been exposed prior to burial to remove the flesh. Several compartments are provided with stone benches. Pottery recovered from the chamber is of the so called Unstan type.
A hundred metres to the west is the iron age Midhowe broch.
Midhowe Broch is the best example of a broch in Orkney. It was excavated in the early 1930s by W.Grant. The remains of this broch still stand to over 4 metres and it might have been up to 13 metres high when first built. The broch was built in close association with a small village, the remains of which can still be seen outside the walls of the defensive structure.It differs from most brochs in having two large "rooms" protected within its large fortified walls, each with their own hearth, beds and other signs of domesticity. There is a communal well beneath the floor of the more westerly room.