Excavation Iron Age The Cairns

Back at The Cairns – excavation dates set for 2022

Excavation will resume at The Cairns this summer - from June 13 until July 8, 2022.
Aerial view of The Cairns, South Ronaldsay. (Bobby Friel)
Aerial view of The Cairns excavation site. (Bobby Friel)

Almost three years since the site was last covered over, excavation at The Cairns is due to resume this summer.

The last season of fieldwork at the Iron Age site in South Ronaldsay was in 2019, with the 2020 and 2021 digs falling victim to the covid pandemic. But all going well archaeologists and students will be back at The Cairns from June 13, until July 8, 2022.

During the excavation period the site is open to the public on weekdays from 10am until 4pm, with a special open day on Friday, July 1.

One of the UHI Archaeology Institute’s flagship excavations, work began at The Cairns in 2006, revealing a large Iron Age broch (c100BC-AD200) and structures dating from the Iron Age through to the Norse period.

At the helm of the four-week dig will be Archaeology Institute lecturer and Iron Age specialist Martin Carruthers. To get up to speed on the site before excavation resumes, Martin’s 2021 talk to the Orkney Archaeology Society – The Life and Times of The Cairns: A thousand Years of living at a Broch – is available here.