Relics of War

Abstract from Mark Littlewood and Dr. Annalisa Christie`s recent paper : The large natural anchorage of Scapa Flow has played an important strategic role as the main northern naval base for Britain in both World Wars. As a result the seabed and surrounding coast is littered with wreckage and debris associated with the wartime defences and the vessels that were part of the conflicts.

The submerged remains of wartime vessels from both World Wars have been the focus of several Historic Scotland funded projects to confirm the identity and assess the extent, character and condition of these sites. Targeted vessels, sites, their debris fields and their surrounding seabed contexts were surveyed with side scan sonar then ground truthed by diver or drop camera to elucidate the condition of the remains.

The paper presents the outcomes of these recent surveys to demonstrate the diversity of submerged cultural wartime heritage in Orkney – from the remains of German battleships of the First World War, to experimental anti-torpedo close protection vessels of the Second World War and from crashed aircraft sites to extensive fields of boom defence debris. These will be explored examining how material culture and historic documents can be used to portray the personal narratives of the military personnel who would have interacted with them from the period.


The Big Day Out

The Archaeology Institute UHI organised a “Big Day Out” for the whole of Kirkwall Grammar School S1 (125 pupils) visited the World Heritage main sites for the day on the 12th May 2015.

Events were held at the main sites with a number of 20min workshops at each:

  • Ring of Brodgar (walkover survey/GPS mapping, geophysics, field recording the stones)
  • Skara Brae (Bones workshops – IM, Easter Island filming and interviews)

The event was a great success as the students engaged with the environment and the methods involved with archaeology. Due to this success the event is pencilled in for next year !

Songs of Hoy

The 1982 film “Songs of Hoy” with the music of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and starring the children of Hoy is being shown on Friday 27th November in Hoy Kirk. There will be soup and sandwiches and an illustrated talk by Dan Lee on recent and planned archaeology projects in Hoy. Everyone will be welcome. Orkney ferries from Stromness 5.45pm and back at 10pm586 Hoy talk 271115

Archaeology Institute Launch Party

FoyerOver 100 people attended the Archaeology Institute Launch event on the 24th November at Orkney College UHI. The evening programme showcased drop in presentations, films and interactive workshops in which delegates could learn about the work undertaken at the Institute. Included in the schedule were talks concerning the danger posed to Orkney archaeological sites from coastal erosion in addition to further presentations concerning lifelong learning and outreach projects, ORCA Marine, ancient woodlands under the waves and The Ness of Brodgar. The drop in workshops were very well attended and involved delegates examining animal bones from various archaeological sites, rocks and archaeology, iron age artefacts from The Cairns, reconstructed submerged woodlands and pre-historic ceramics. To add a further dimension to the work undertaken by the Institute, films produced in the Institute were also shown including Wilder Being and Rousay Summer Club and Yesnaby Art and Archaeology Research Project. Many thanks to all those people who supported the event.