The Orkney World Heritage Site Fieldwalking Project: Learning About Archaeology Amongst Orkney’s World-famous Monuments, has secured a £9,900 National Lottery grant to undertake archaeological fieldwalking in the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site Buffer Zone.
Led by Orkney Archaeology Society, with partners at the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute, the project is due to start this week and aims to follow the process of a fieldwalking project from discovery in the field, through a series of archaeology workshops, culminating in a temporary exhibition at the Orkney Museum in Kirkwall.
The project is open to local volunteers who will be trained in field practice, lithics, finds processing, map making, presenting results, report writing and the final museum exhibition, which will be run as a series of workshops throughout the year. There will also be a fieldwalking workshop run in collaboration with the Historic Environment Scotland Rangers at the Stenness Primary School.
Fieldwalking involves the surface collection of artefacts in ploughed fields on a grid so that distribution patterns over larger areas can be observed. Fieldwalking around Maeshowe and along the Ness of Brodgar peninsula has the potential to add a significant layer of landscape interpretations to the area.
This will enhance the results from the recent World Heritage Area geophysical survey undertaken by the Archaeology Institute. This revealed a multi-period landscape of enclosures, settlements, rig and furrow cultivation and prehistoric sites beneath the ground surface.
Fieldwalking has already proved fruitful in the area with the discovery of Barnhouse Neolithic settlement by Professor Colin Richards in the 1980s. The current project will recover artefacts from every period, not just prehistoric finds, bringing the story of the landscape up to the present day.
There are a number of trainee places available for the fieldwalking and various follow up workshops. Contact Dan Lee at the Archaeology Institute if you wish take part. Volunteers are also needed to help with all aspects of the project.
The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and supported in kind by Historic Environment Scotland, Orkney Museums, and Professor Mark Edmonds. Orkney Archaeology Society would like to thanks local landowners for supporting the project and allowing access to fields.
Martin Carruthers, chairman of the Orkney Archaeology Society, said: “We are excited by this fantastic opportunity to support the local community in discovering the wealth of heritage below their feet in the Orkney World Heritage Area. We are looking forward to the excitement, enjoyment and learning that such projects can bring.”
Dan Lee, Archaeology Institute Lifelong Learning and Outreach Archaeologist added: “We are thrilled to be working with Orkney Archaeology Society in such an iconic landscape to provide learning experiences in archaeology for the local community. We hope that local volunteers and trainees will enjoy bringing new stories to this important landscape.”
Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland, said: “Sharing Heritage is a wonderful opportunity for communities to delve into their local heritage and we are delighted to be able to offer this grant so that the Orkney World Heritage Site Fieldwalking Project can embark on a real journey of discovery. Heritage means such different things to different people, and HLF’s funding offers a wealth of opportunities for groups to explore and celebrate what’s important to them in their area.”
Contact Dan Lee (University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute) for more details and to register as a volunteer 01856 569214 Daniel.Lee@uhi.ac.uk.