Ancient Spaces

Maes Howe, Scotland

Maes Howe is a large burial mound containing the finest chambered tomb in Northwestern Europe. Built approximately 5000 years ago, it stands as symbol of the impressive architectural achievement of the early farming communities. Maes Howe functioned as a burial ground for generation upon generation of agrarians. Scientists and archeologists have examined the objects unearthed in the tomb and by comparing these artifacts with other Neolithic finds have estimated that initial construction began in 3000 BC. The structure of the Maes Howe tomb reveals that its builders had a knowledge of the seasonal movements of the sun. For instance, windows in the main chamber are positioned to receive direct sunlight during the winter solstice -- an important date for early agrarians.