Excavation Iron Age Swartigill

A look back at Swartigill 2022

Aerial view of the site at the end of the 2022 excavation season. (Bobby Friel)

Today we bring you a flashback to the tail end of the summer and the excavation of the Iron Age site at Swartigill, Caithness.

The excavation is a collaboration between the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute and the Yarrows Heritage Trust and is providing a glimpse of everyday life in Iron Age Scotland that does not centre on the monumental architecture of brochs.

The 2022 excavation ran from August 15 until September 9.

A busy day on site at Swartigill. (ORCA)
A digger’s eye view of excavation in Structure D. (Bobby Friel)
Excavation of deposits in Structures D and E in the Western extension, while planning takes place in the newly emerging Structure G. (Bobby Friel)
An aerial view of Structure G (upper left) emerging from below Structure E (upper middle), and next to structure D (lower middle). (Bobby Friel)
An aerial view of Structure G (upper left) emerging from below Structure E (upper middle), and next to structure D (lower middle). (Bobby Friel)
Work to investigate Structure B continued, with a newly discovered hearth emerging as a focal point of activity in the later phase of occupation of the building. (Bobby Friel)
Work to investigate Structure B continued, with a newly discovered hearth emerging as a focal point of activity in the later phase of occupation of the building. (Bobby Friel)
ORCA Archaeology Project Officer Linda Somerville and UHI Archaeology Institute Master Student Sara Marinoni excavating rubble layers in Structure D. (Holly Young)
ORCA Archaeology Project Officer Linda Somerville and UHI Archaeology Institute Master Student Sara Marinoni excavating rubble layers in Structure D. (Holly Young)
UHI Archaeology Institute student Travis Lowe recording one of the many finds from the eroding burn section. (ORCA)
UHI Archaeology Institute field school students Aada Sihvonen, Nora Ammor, Michael Perera and Hayley Hartman, excavating alluvial deposits overlaying Structure G. (Holly Young)
UHI Archaeology Institute PhD student Holly Young giving pupils from Thrumster Primary School a lesson in archaeological drawing. (ORCA)
ORCA Archaeology Project Officers Rick Barton and Bobby Friel discussing progress on site from the comfort of the spoil heap. (Holly Young)
Volunteer excavators Deryck Dean and Paul Simonite stripping turf to extend the excavation area to the east. (Holly Young)
Detail of the fantastic Guido 13 “Northern Spiral” bead. (Bobby Friel)
UHI Archaeology Institute lecturer Martin Carruthers discussing progress on the site with local community volunteer excavators Meg Sinclair and Rhona MacPherson. (Holly Young)
UHI Archaeology Institute lecturer Martin Carruthers discussing progress on the site with local community volunteer excavators Meg Sinclair and Rhona MacPherson. (Holly Young)
Volunteer excavator Roland Spencer-Jones carefully recording structures on the site. (HollyYoung)
Volunteer excavator Roland Spencer-Jones carefully recording structures on the site. (HollyYoung)
Local community volunteers Rhona Macpherson and Alison Smith, along with UHI Archaeology Institute students Haley Hartman and Travis Lowe investigating the eroding section of the site in the banks of the burn. (Holly Young)
Local community volunteers Rhona Macpherson and Alison Smith, along with UHI Archaeology Institute students Haley Hartman and Travis Lowe investigating the eroding section of the site in the banks of the burn. (Holly Young)
The Caithness Field Club receive a site tour from ORCA Archaeology site director Rick Barton on the open day. (Holly Young)
The Caithness Field Club receive a site tour from ORCA Archaeology site director Rick Barton on the open day. (Holly Young)