December 1997 - a good sunset, first observation of sun on back wall
The Neolithic chambered cairn of Maeshowe (or Orkahowe as the Vikings called it) has several winter solstice alignments. Apart from the obvious shortest day sun shining down the passage, the sun in fact shines down the passage and illuminates the back wall for several weeks on either side of the solstice, weather permitting. Recent studies by myself and Victor Reijs have shown that Maeshowe may in fact be much more than a winter solstice site.
the Winter Solstice the setting sun illuminates the north west side
of the entry passage of the cairn as in this photograph. About
twenty minutes before apparent sunset, the light hits the back wall,
first as a narrow beam, which gradually widens to a broad band of
light, before being extinguished.