UHI Archaeology Institute Excavation Calendar 2018

The exciting archaeology research dig programme for 2018 is now confirmed. 

There are seven sites open in Orkney alone with further exciting community projects planned throughout the year. Check out this blog and social media for  updates.

The on-site teams welcome visitors and there is no charge for entry….although we welcome donations to help support the research. There are a few things to keep in mind when visiting:

  • The sites can be muddy following bad weather so sturdy boots are recommended
  • Sites can also be closed if the weather is particularly inclement, so if in doubt please check by sending us an e-mail studyarchaeology@uhi.ac.uk
  • If you need any help in planning a trip to the projects listed below, then please feel free to contact us on studyarchaeology@uhi.ac.uk. We are always happy to help you find the site or answer questions.

There are also opportunities to take part in these community events, even if you have no experience of archaeology. So if you want to take part in these exciting community events then contact Dan Lee on studyarchaeology@uhi.ac.uk .

The Cairns Excavation

The Cairns 1

  • Site Director: Martin Carruthers
  • Iron Age Broch and Settlement in a stunning coastal location
  • Location: Windwick Bay, South Ronaldsay, Orkney. Follow the sign to Windwick on the A961 between St Margarets Hope and Burwick.
  • Open to the public from 18th June to 13th July 2018
  • Tours are available Monday to Friday. There are no set times, but the site opens at 10.30am each morning and closes at around 4.30pm.
  • Open Day is Friday 6th July. All welcome.
  • Access to the site involves a short, but steep unpaved road over a small bridge.
  • Archaeologists will be working on site during the week. No-one will be on site during the weekend.
  • You can also follow on social media.

Ness of Brodgar Excavations


  • Site Director: Nick Card
  • World renowned Neolithic Excavation
  • Location: Stenness, West Mainland, Orkney
  • Nick Card, Site Director Ness of Brodgar, will be giving a talk to the Orkney Archaeology Society on 21st June. Venue: Orkney Theatre, Kirkwall. Time to be confirmed.
  • Site open to the public from 4th July to 22nd August 2018
  • Tours are available
    • Monday to Friday at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.
    • Saturday & Sunday 11am and 3pm.
  • Archaeologists will be working on site during the week. The site is open at the weekend for 2 guided tours, but archaeologists will not be present.
  • Booking essential for ‘Digging up the Past’ workshops for young people (see here to book) which will be running on:
    • 24th July 2018
    • 31st July 2018
    • 7th August 2018
    • 14th August 2018
  • Open Days will be 15th July and 19th August.
  • Please check the Ness of Brodgar Trust website for up to date information. You can also follow on social media.

Cata Sand, Tresness Chambered Tomb & Loth Road Bronze Age House


  • Site Directors: Professor Vicki Cummings (UCLan), Professor Jane Downes (UHI), Professor Colin Richards (UHI), Chris Gee
  • Neolithic & Bronze Age excavation in collaboration with UCLan.
  • Location: Cata Sand, Tresness, Sanday, Orkney. The Loth Road excavation is close to the ferry terminal and will be signposted.
  • The sites are on the northern Orkney island of Sanday. The ferry timetable is available here.
  • Open to the public from 7th July to 4th August 2018
  • You are welcome to visit the three sites under investigation. The sites open at 10.30am each morning and closes at around 4.30pm.
  • Access to the Tresness and Cata Sand sites involves a long walk along Tresness beach from the B9069.
  • Archaeologists will be working on site during the week.
  • The site is in the intertidal zone and so will be submerged for some parts of the day. Please check with staff concerning working times as they will depend on the tides. Contact: studyarchaeology@uhi.ac.uk

Skaill Farmstead Excavation, Rousay

20170714_133753 LowRes

  • Site Directors: Dr Ingrid Mainland, Dr Jen Harland and Dan Lee
  • The work at Skaill aims to explore the remarkable deep time represented along the west shore; from the Neolithic, Iron Age, Pictish, Viking and Norse periods to the 19th century clearances. Why not visit the coastally eroding site at Swandro as well, which is a further 10 min walk along the coast from Skaill.
  • Location: Skaill, near Midhowe Broch, Rousay. There is a regular ferry service to the island.
  • Open to the public from 9th – 22nd July 2018 (note, the team will not be on-site 14-17 July)
  • The site opens at 9.30am each morning and closes at around 4.30pm.
  • Access to the site involves a walk down a steep hill from the car park for Mid Howe Broch and left (south) along the shoreline (15 min walk). The ground is uneven and the path is a little overgrown in places. Please do not access from Westness Farm.
  • Archaeologists will be working on site during the week.
  • The Open Day will be on the final weekend 21st-22nd July
  • Contact: studyarchaeology@uhi.ac.uk

If you wish to be added to our mailing list for community archaeology volunteers then please use the contact form below or contact studyarchaology@uhi.ac.uk.

See the web page on Visit Orkney for more information on transport links and accommodation.

This page will be updated as new events and activities are confirmed.