Preparations for a new exhibition at Orkney Museum showing finds from the 2016 Orkney World Heritage Site Fieldwalking Project are under way.
The overall project provided hands-on training and memorable experiences in field archaeology to the local community through a fieldwalking project in the landscape of Orkney’s World Heritage Site at Maeshowe and Brodgar, in Orkney’s West Mainland.
The project was organised to run throughout 2016 using a series of workshops and events designed to teach people about the practice of archaeological fieldwalking, the processes that occur after fieldwork and how to present the results in a presentation, more traditional report format and museum exhibition.
The weather wasn’t always kind-the volunteers experienced archaeology in rain, sun and occasionally hail- but everyone enjoyed the experience.
Throughout, the main aim of the project was to involve members of the local community and generate internationally significant research in a World Heritage area and thereby contribute to the wider understanding of these sites and present the results themselves in an exhibition at Orkney Museum in early 2017.
I have really enjoyed learning more about stone tools and flints from the highly knowledgeable staff and others involved in this project and meeting new people who share my interest in the pre-history of Orkney. Fieldwalking in the Orkney winter is not for those who like to be cosy and dry or who are unfit but I found it a strangely pleasurable experience and once I had begun to recognise flint lying on the soil surface, field walking became very addictive!
If I had to pick one highlight it would be finding my first flint tool – beginners luck! It is thrilling to hold something that was last held by one of our Neolithic ancestors 5000 years ago.Helen Aiton
In total, quite a haul was collected from 26 fields!
- 1,633 pieces of pottery
- 414 glass fragments
- 66 flint tools and fragments
- 11 stone tools
- 53 pieces of iron debris
- 305 cramp (fuel ash slag) deposits
- 12 broken clay pipes
Thanks to Orkney Archaeology Society (OAS) who were awarded grant aid funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund Sharing Heritage scheme to undertake a fieldwalking project within the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site Buffer Zone (HONO WHS), West Mainland, Orkney.
The University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute were commissioned by OAS to undertake professional services for the project, including the fieldwork, training workshops and post-excavation.