ORCA Archaeology is pleased to announce that they have been commissioned by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) to commence archaeology excavation at the site of the proposed new sub-station at Finstown.
Orkney is recognised to be at the forefront of the rapidly expanding renewable sector in the UK. The proposed Finstown Substation will form part of the multi-million pound Orkney Transmission Connection and Infrastructure project which aims to reinforce the electricity transmission connection between the renewable energy providers on the islands and the mainland of Scotland.
The planned archaeology work at the proposed substation site will involve a programme of excavation, which will investigate anomalies identified through earlier surveys conducted by ORCA Archaeology.
Magnetometer (geophysical) surveys revealed several areas of archaeological interest (Figure 1 below), which were subsequently investigated by trial trenching. Interestingly the large anomaly shown at 8 in Figure 2 has been interpreted as a lightning strike rather than archaeology, but looks pretty spectacular in any event!
The sub-station site sits in an area of low glacial mounds laid to pasture, at the foot of Hill of Heddle. An old road or track formerly ran through it along the present field boundary angling NE from Stymilders, which itself was the site of a 19th century school. The field boundary is shown in Figure 2 below.
The trial trenching found extensive deposits of ‘midden’ - material containing debris from human occupation - and several stone structures, probably dating from the Bronze Age (about 2000BC to 800BC in Orkney) near Stymilders and the Neolithic (4000BC to c. 2000BC) in the eastern field, (feature 7 in Figure 2 above).
The current excavation follows on from this previous work and targets the known areas of archaeological potential. The ORCA Archaeology team will open a series of large trenches as shown in Figure 3 below, take samples of the midden material, investigate and record the structures present.
Pete Higgins, Senior Project Manager, ORCA Archaeology commented, “This is a rare opportunity to excavate a large area of good archaeological potential and we anticipate it will add significantly to our understanding of how people interacted with the landscape near the World Heritage Area.”
SSEN’s Environmental Project Manager, Simon Hall adds, “Given Orkney’s vast, rich and highly significant archaeology, we are fully committed to work with all relevant bodies to avoid or mitigate impacts and protect Orkney’s archaeological heritage.In the event of any archaeological discoveries of interest we are committed to ensure these are fully documented, preserved if possible, with our findings shared with interested parties.”
For further information on the proposals see the SSEN website at............
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