Excavation Iron Age The Cairns

Back at The Cairns in 2023

Excavation at The Cairns Iron Age site will resume on Monday, June 12, 2023, running until Friday, July 7.
Aerial view of The Cairns, South Ronaldsay. (Bobby Friel)
Aerial view of The Cairns, South Ronaldsay. (Bobby Friel)

Next year’s excavation at The Cairns will run from Monday, June 12, until Friday, July 7, 2023.

During the excavation period the site will be open to the public on weekdays from 10am until 4pm.

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

The last full season of fieldwork at the Iron Age site in South Ronaldsay was in 2019, with the 2020 and 2021 digs falling victim to the pandemic. Due to unforeseen circumstances, excavation in 2022 was on a much-reduced scale.

At the helm of 2023’s four-week dig will be UHI 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.

His 2022 talk, People of the Broch: Excavating an Iron Age Community at The Cairns, can be viewed here.