he excavations at Smerquoy have finished for another year, but initial findings are beginning to change our view of early Neolithic settlement in Orkney – in particular suggesting that early Orcadian farmers were living in villages rather than isolated farmsteads.
The excavation at Smerquoy had advanced a great deal since my last visit. A new trench had been completed. But before Colin Richards and Christopher Gee talked me through this enigmatic area, they guided me over to the back of the site, where some of the earliest houses in Orkney were built during the Neolithic.
The structures at Smerquoy were built before the well known structures at the Ness of Brodgar, which in itself is impressive, but Chris, together with his team from the University of Manchester and the University of Central Lancashire, are progressing towards establishing whether all the houses visible in the geophysics were contemporary with each other or built over time with some buildings being abandoned as others were built.
Work is progressing well at the site of Smerquoy, on the Orkney Mainland. A team of archaeologists are beginning to uncover the sequence of early Neolithic house construction at the site.
The excavation at Smerquoy on the north-west facing slope of Wideford Hill, near Kirkwall, Orkney got under way last week.