Acoustics at Taversoe Tuick and Huntersquoy

These monuments share architectural similarities with passage tombs, but are distinctive because they have two chambers, one built above the other. Each is located upon a different island in Orkney; Taversoe Tuick on Rousay and Huntersquoy on Eday.

The unusual double-decked format has the potential to create some striking sound effects. For example, the occupants of one chamber would almost certainly have been able to hear sounds generated in the other, but with their source remaining unknown. The solid stone floor dividing each would have also filtered the exchange of sound between the two levels so it would have been distorted. Furthermore, each of the two chambers can only be accessed by a separate passage from opposite sides of the cairn. It was possible for different individuals, or groups of people, to access the chambers simultaneously and remain unseen.

Unfortunately, these acoustic effects will remain hypothetical as it is not possible to measure sound effects inside these monuments today. A ladder is now used for access between the two chambers within Taversoe Tuick, and Huntersquoy is no longer accessible, with one of the chambers being flooded with water.