The excavation report of Howe, a multi-period prehistoric site in Orkney, appeared, in 1994 and is reviewed here in detail. The Iron Age levels revealed a series of stone roundhouses and broch-like buildings which – it is claimed – show the local development of these structures in the north. However the evidence for the nature of the structures concerned, and for the dating of the earlier ones, is not really clear enough to support this hypothesis, and the unstable site raises doubts about the primarily defensive nature of the structures. The large quantities of well stratified pottery and other finds have huge research potential, and the writer has undertaken some new work on the rotary querns. The remains of neolithic buildings – including two superimposed chambered cairns – were found underneath the Iron Age levels at the end of the excavations. Fresh fieldwork by the writer is described which suggests that the first tomb was linked to the winter solstice. Clear continuity with the orientation of the later structures can be seen, and it is possible that access to the neolithic structures in the Iron Age was retained by means of an underground chamber. The ceremonial purposes of the site at Howe throughout most of its life may thus have been seriously underestimated.