Archaeology The Cairns

The Cairns – June 23rd June

A glorious day at The Cairns. The sun shone and for the first time the sun cream came out. Yes I had to pinch myself and remind myself that this is Orkney.

It is a day like this when the landscape of The Cairns can be fully appreciated. The full sweep of South Parish in South Ronaldsay is laid out before you and it is then that you realise a little of what the people who lived there saw when they woke up. This is the view from the “front door” of the broch.


Two steps and a turn of the head and you can see across the Pentland Firth and into Caithness. Is the position of this settlement for defence or for impression? Being there on a day like today, I think my money is on the latter.

As if to highlight the living landscape, a series of finds have been emerging from the area where two 20th century planks were discovered two days ago. A whole cache of snail shells were unearthed.


With all the archaeologists on their break….and with only the cows for company, the full extent of the broch is beginning to emerge.



Thanks to Sigurd Towrie and for more information on the dig see Orkneyjar