Dwarfie Stane is a megalithic chambered tomb carved out of a titanic block of Devonian Old Red Sandstone that was deposited in the area by a glacier. It is the only chambered tomb in Orkney that is cut from stone rather than built from stones and may be the only example of a Neolithic rock-cut tomb in Britain. A stone slab originally blocked the entrance to the tomb on its west side, but now lies on the ground in front of it.
The name is derived from local legends which say the dwarf “Trollid” lived there, although, ironically, it has also been considered the work of giants. The tomb was popularized in Walter Scott’s novel The Pirate published in 1821.
There is a variety of 18th and 19th century graffiti on the rock-cut tomb. One is an inscription in Persian calligraphy that states “I have sat two nights and so learnt patience” left by Major William Mounsey, who camped here in 1850. Above the Persian is his own name written backwards in Latin.
The tomb is located in a glaciated valley of peat between the settlements of Quoys and Rackwick on Hoy, an island in Orkney, Scotland.