When Hamish Mowatt decided to investigate a mysterious mound as he tidied an Orkney garden, he had little idea he would uncover a hoard of bodies that had lain untouched for around 5,000 years.
Archeologists believe the tomb he discovered under a boulder outside a bistro in South Ronaldsay could lead to new insights into how our neolithic ancestors lived and died.
But they face a race against time as water washing in and out of the newly uncovered tomb could wash away its contents and dissolve any pottery and human remains inside.
Mr Mowatt uncovered the tomb in the garden of Skerries bistro and self catering cottages. He said: “There is a big slab of stone about eight foot by eight foot and I had always wondered what was underneath it. I had a bit of time at the end of the summer and I thought I would take a look.”
Mr Mowatt, who runs a boat business, pushed a piece of wire down a hole at the side of the stone and discovered a cavern underneath it. He then pushed down a rod attached to an underwater camera he used for looking at wrecks and discovered a chambered cairn with skulls against the edge.