All University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute excavations were cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. This summer, as lockdown measures ease, archaeologists are looking forward to getting back to some fieldwork.
Ness of Brodgar
Work at the Ness of Brodgar will resume at the end of June – although on a much-reduced scale.
2021 will see a seven-week excavation that will be very different to previous years with several measures put in place to keep staff and visitors safe. Although the dig will be open to the public between June 30 and August 11, 2021, to avoid crowding there will be no site tours, the viewing gallery will not be on site and a one-way system will be in operation.
With a smaller team than usual, the archaeological work will cover a smaller area, with only a few of the Neolithic structures uncovered.
On July 5, excavation resumes at the Skaill Farmstead, Rousay – a site that was in use from the Norse period until it was abandoned in the 19th century. In 2019, a large Norse hall, probably dating to the 10th to 12th centuries AD, was discovered beneath the the more recent structures.
This year, the team will also be investigating the The Wirk – an enigmatic structure that has which has variously been interpreted as a 12th century Norse Castle, a hall-house tower, a defensive church tower and a 16thh century tower and range.
The dig runs on weekdays until July 16, and visitors are welcome between 10am and 4pm.
The Cairns, South Ronaldsay
Unfortunately, there will be no excavation at The Cairns Iron Age site in South Ronaldsay this year, but post-excavation work will be continuing.