The Ness of Brodgar – Digging Deeper

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The time of year is upon us again when hundreds of people migrate to Orkney for two months in the summer to take part in one of the most exciting Neolithic archaeological excavations in Europe.

Volunteers and students from around the world are starting to arrive in Orkney to take part in the 2017 Ness of Brodgar archaeological dig which starts 5th July 2017 and continues until 23rd August 2017.

Under the direction of Nick Card, Site Director, the volunteers are preparing themselves for the arduous task of removing the coverings that protect the four-thousand-year-old structures. Only then can the archaeological work begin.

The ongoing excavations at the Ness turn up new discoveries on an almost daily basis, many without parallel and they are changing our perceptions of the past. This year will be particularly exciting as we dig deeper into the past and uncover new insights into the world of Orcadian Neolithic society….New questions remain to be answered – What is the purpose of the structure discovered under the midden at the very end of last year? It is currently wide open to interpretation, but as far as we can tell it is unique. What new discoveries will be unearthed in Trench X that leads down to the Loch of Stenness? What will the detailed analysis of the floor layers in Trench P tell us about the use of these enigmatic stone structures and the people who used them?

It is now becoming clearer just how complex and in many ways, puzzling Neolithic society was in Orkney. The new trenches have brought archaeologists face to face with the utterly unknown. As the excavation develops we will continue to tell the world about the remarkable Neolithic discoveries through the new website (http://www.nessofbrodgar.co.uk/), our social media, the dig diary and video reporting – something totally new this year as Simon Gray, one of the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute MSc students, creates a video diary of the whole summer dig.

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The dig is open to the public from 5th July until 23rd August and Open Days are being held on Sunday 16th July and Sunday 20th August when everyone is welcome to take part in activities across the site and at Stenness Community Centre.

  • Dates: open to the public from Wednesday 5th July to Wednesday 23rd August
  • Tours are available and archaeologists will be on site most weekdays. Please check the Ness of Brodgar Trust website for up to date information.
  • Tours are also conducted at 1100 & 1500 on Saturday and Sunday during the dig season, but there will be no archaeologists on site during the weekend.
  • Open Days are Sunday 16th July and Sunday 20th August
  • Location: Stenness, West Mainland
  • Dig Diary
  • More information

This project is being part financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community Orkney LEADER 2014 – 2020 Programme