Maeshowe, Orkahaugr – The names of Orkney’s great burial mound as nodes in a heteroglossic web of meaning-making

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Situated on a central thoroughfare on the Orkney Mainland, and in the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Area, is the c. 5000-year-old burial mound now known by the name of Maeshowe. In the Orkneyinga Saga, however, and in a runic inscription in the mound itself, the mound has another name: Orkahaugr, or Orkhaugr.

The aim here is to discuss these names focusing on reception and interpretation, asking which stories have been told about these names from the Middle Ages to the present, and what these stories can tell us regarding how those who heard and told them understood the mound: Its exterior and, perhaps more importantly, its interior, contents and meaning.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWhat is North?
PublisherBrepols Publishers
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 16 Feb 2018
EventThe third St Magnus conference: Visualising the North - Orkney
Duration: 14 Apr 201616 Apr 2016


ConferenceThe third St Magnus conference



  • Maeshowe
  • Folklore

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