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Orkney Excavations | 2018

Thanks to the UHI Archaeology Institute, there are seven sites open in Orkney alone, with further exciting community projects planned throughout the year. 

The on-site teams welcome visitors and there is no charge for entry, although they welcome donations to help support the research.

The Cairns Excavation – 18 June to 13 July 

  • What: Iron Age Broch and Settlement in a stunning coastal location
  • Where: Windwick Bay, South Ronaldsay, Orkney. Follow the sign to Windwick on the A961 between St Margarets Hope and Burwick. Access to the site involves a short, but steep unpaved road over a small bridge.
  • When: Tours are available Monday to Friday. There are no set times, but the site opens at 10.30am each morning and closes at around 4.30pm. Archaeologists will be working on site during the week. No one will be on site during the weekend.
  • Open Day: Friday 6 July – all welcome
  • Social Media: Follow on Twitter

Ness of Brodgar Excavations – 4 July to 22 August

  • What: World-renowned Neolithic Excavation
  • Where: Stenness, West Mainland, Orkney
  • When: Tours are available on Monday to Friday (11am, 1pm and 3pm) and Saturday & Sunday (11am and 3pm). Archaeologists will be working on site during the week. The site is open at the weekend for 2 guided tours, but archaeologists will not be present.
  • Open Day: 15 July and 19 August
  • Events: Booking essential for ‘Digging up the Past’ workshops for young people (click here to book) which will be running on 24 July, 31 July, 7 August and 14 August
  • Social Media: Follow on Facebook

Cata Sand, Tresness Chambered Tomb & Loth Road Bronze Age House – 7 July to 4 August

  • What: Neolithic & Bronze Age excavation
  • Where: Cata Sand, Tresness, Sanday, Orkney. The Loth Road excavation is close to the ferry terminal and will be signposted. The sites are on the northern Orkney island of Sanday. The ferry timetable can be accessed by clicking here. Access to the Tresness and Cata Sand sites involves a long walk along Tresness beach from the B9069.
  • When: You are welcome to visit the three sites under investigation. The sites open at 10.30am each morning and closes at around 4.30pm. Archaeologists will be working on site during the week. The site is in the intertidal zone and so will be submerged for some parts of the day. Please check with staff concerning working times as they will depend on the tides.
  • Contact:

Skaill Farmstead Excavation, Rousay – 9 to 22 July

  • What: The work at Skaill aims to explore the remarkable deep time represented along the west shore; from the Neolithic, Iron Age, Pictish, Viking and Norse periods to the 19th century clearances. Why not visit the coastally eroding site at Swandro as well, which is a further 10 min walk along the coast from Skaill.
  • Where: Skaill, near Midhowe Broch, Rousay. There is a regular ferry service to the island. Access to the site involves a walk down a steep hill from the car park for Mid Howe Broch and left (south) along the shoreline (15 min walk). The ground is uneven and the path is a little overgrown in places. Please do not access from Westness Farm.
  • When: Archaeologists will be working on site during the week. The site opens at 9.30am each morning and closes at around 4.30pm. Please note that the team will not be on site 14 to 17 July.
  • Open Day: 21 to 22 July
  • Contact:



Keep in mind:

  • 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 an e-mail to
  • If you need any help in planning a trip to the projects listed below, then please feel free to contact the team at They are always happy to help you find the site or answer questions.

There are also opportunities to take part in these community events, even if you have no experience of archaeology. So if you want to take part in these exciting community events then contact Dan Lee on .

If you wish to be added to the mailing list for community archaeology volunteers then please contact or check out the UHI blog and social media for updates.


Monday 18 June - Wednesday 22 August

Free Entry

More Info
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