The 2008 Ring of Brodgar excavations

Introduction to the 2008 Ring of Brodgar excavation pages.
The Ring of Brodgar. (📷 Jim Richardson)
The Ring of Brodgar. (📷 Jim Richardson)

In 2008, the Ring of Brodgar was the focus of a major archaeological excavation – the first at the stone circle in 35 years.

The month-long dig was undertaken by a 15-strong team of archaeologists and students from the UHI Archaeology Institute, University of Manchester, Stirling University and the Scottish Universities Environment Research Centre (SUERC).

Orkney historian Dr Ernest Marwick with Professor Colin Renfrew during a visit to the 1973 excavations at the Ring of Brodgar. (📷 Orkney Library and Archives)

Leading the project were the UHI Archaeology Institute’s Professor Jane Downes and Professor Colin Richards (then of the University of Manchester).

The previous excavation at the ring was in 1973, by Professor Lord Colin Renfrew. Since then, significant developments had taken place in analytical techniques such as dating.

The 2008 project involved the re-excavation and extension of trenches dug by Renfrew. Geophysical surveys were also undertaken to investigate the location of standing stones and other features within the monument.

The northernmost trench, Trench A, was supervised by Bob Nunn of  Bournemouth University while the southernmost, Trench C, was supervised by Dr Antonia Thomas of the UHI Archaeology Institute.

An online diary was maintained throughout the dig, but this was lost after the host website was targeted by hackers in 2016. For posterity, we’ve collected all the lost material, expanded on it, and made it available here.

The Ring of Brodgar from the north-west. (📷 Sigurd Towrie)
The Ring of Brodgar from the north-west. (📷 Sigurd Towrie)