Excavation Calendar 2017

img_0916 imgp0757

The projects listed below welcome visitors. Many have volunteer opportunities. Contact us for more details.

  • 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

Ness of Brodgar excavations:

  • Dates: open to the public from Wednesday 5th July to Wednesday 23rd August
  • The Orkney Archaeology Society Ness of Brodgar talk will take place on 15th June at 19.00 in the Orkney Theatre.
  • Tours are available and archaeologists will be on site most weekdays. Please check the Ness of Brodgar Trust website for up to date information.
  • Tours are also conducted at 1100 & 1500 on Saturday and Sunday during the dig season, but there will be no archaeologists on site during the weekend.
  • Open Days are Sunday 16th July and Sunday 20th August
  • Location: Stenness, West Mainland
  • Dig Diary
  • More information

Cata Sand, Sanday

Excavation and geophysical survey at this prehistoric settlement eroding from beneath the sands at Tresness.

Mapping Magnus

A community research and training project commemorating the 900th anniversary year of the death of St Magnus. During 2017, there will be a staged project of community activities and events based around archaeological fieldwork to enhance our understanding of the story of St Magnus, primarily in the Palace village and environs area of Birsay. It will also include other key places within the story, such as the site of Magnus’ Martyrdom on Egilsay and the Mansie Stane sites where his body was rested during transit.

Are you interested in getting involved with the Mapping Magnus archaeology project in Birsay for the Magnus 900 year? We are pleased to announce the first set of dates for the various exciting activities over the next few months in and around the Palace village area of Birsay. The full list can be found on the Mapping Magnus information page on this blog:

We also have an information point in the foyer of the Birsay Hall. There you can find project information, dates and find out about the results so far. We will also post regularly on our blog.

Boat noust survey. 15 & 16 August

What? Record and survey the historic boat Nousts / Boat houses at Skipi Geo and Point of Buckquoy. Learn survey techniques with Dan Lee.

Where? 15th – Meet at Skipi Geo, Northside, Birsay. 16th – Point of Buckquoy car park at Brough of Birsay.

When? 10am – 3pm

Village survey. 25 & 26 August

What? Record and survey the upstanding archaeology in and around Palace Village, Birsay. Learn survey techniques with Dan Lee.

Where? Meet at Palace village, Birsay, car park opposite kirk.

When? 10am – 3pm

Archive research training. 1 & 2 Sept

What? Research the history & archaeology of Birsay with Dr Sarah-Jane Gibbon. Contribute original research to the project.

Where? Orkney Archives, Orkney Library and Archive, Junction Road, Kirkwall

When? 10am – 3pm

Coastal Survey. 6, 7 & 8 Sept

What? Record the coastally eroding sites from Palace village to the point of Buckquoy area with archaeologist Dave Reay.

Where? Meet at Point of Buckquoy car park at Brough of Birsay

When? 10am – 3pm

Village excavations. 25 Sept – 6 Oct

What? Help the Archaeololgy Institute team dig test pits in Palace Village around the medieval site of the Bishops Palace.

Where? Meet at Palace village car park opposite kirk. Booking essential.

When? 10am – 4pm

Watch this space! more dates to follow for geophysical survey, noust survey, walkover survey during October and November.

Caithness Broch Festival

The Caithness Broch Festival will provide hands-on training and memorable experiences in field archaeology to the local community through a number of archaeological events at broch sites across the Caithness region: Bruan Broch near Tulloch Lea and Thing’s Va near Scrabster. Activities will include archaeological field walking, walkover survey, geophysical surveys and test-pitting during 2017 and 2018.

For more information see the Caithness Broch Project website

Upcoming activities:

  • Geophsyical survey: 14-18 August 2017
  • Test Pit Excavation: 31 August – 3 Sepember TBC
  • Field Walking: Spring 2018 TBC
  • Location: Bruan Broch near Tulloch Lea: the broch is located just by the A99 between Ulbster and Blackness, at Bruan. Thing’s Va near Scrabster: driving along the A836 from Thurso, turn left just after the Thurso Business Centre. The broch is c.1km down the road in the fields on the right.
  • To get involved or for more details contact: studyarchaeology@uhi.ac.uk
  • Volunteer and training opportunities available!

Bay of Ireland environmental test pitting

Join Dr Scott Timpany and Dan Lee digging test pits at the site of eroding Mesolithic peat, tree stumps and wood.

  • Excavation 5-6th September 2017 *times TBC due to tides*
  • Location: Cummi Ness (south of Brig of Waithe), Bay of Ireland, Stromness, Orkney
  • To get incolved contact: studyarchaeology@uhi.ac.uk
  • Volunteer and training opportunities available!
  • Booking essential


Things to looks out for:

  • Kirkwall THI Archaeology Programme: Environmental coring in the Peedie Sea, Kirkwall. Sept 2017
  • Upcoming dates for Mapping Magnus project, Birsay, during winter 2017-18

See the web page on Orkney.com for more information on transport links.

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