Iron Age Research Zooarchaeology

Extracting DNA from The Cairns and Minehowe whalebone collections

This week, Brenna Frasier from Saint Mary’s University, Nova Scotia and Vicki Szabo from Western Carolina University joined Dr Ingrid Mainland and Martin Carruthers at the UHI Archaeology Institute to examine the collection of whalebone artefacts recovered from The Cairns and Minehowe excavations, Orkney.

Iron Age The Cairns

Orkney’s oldest wooden bowl unveiled

A remarkable, perfectly preserved, wooden bowl unearthed from a two-thousand-year-old well has been revealed during conservation work being undertaken on the artefact this week, and an extraordinary story of ancient repair of the bowl suggests it was a valued object during the Iron Age.

Plan of The Cairns Excavation
Iron Age The Cairns

The structures at The Cairns

However before the daily dig diary begins, perhaps it might be an idea to talk you through some of the structures that have been discovered at the site, to help you locate the finds that Martin and his team discover over the next few weeks of excavation. 

Here is everything you have ever wanted to know about The Cairns, but were too afraid to ask. Well, almost…

Iron Age The Cairns

Researching the origins of The Cairns broch

The Cairns is one of the leading research excavations in Orkney. The work carried out at the site, both during the excavation and post-excavation phases, will over time build a more complete picture of life in the Iron Age in the North Atlantic region.

Site director and Programme Leader for MSc Archaeological Practice, Martin Carruthers, takes up the story…