The University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute and ORCA Archaeology teamed up with Robert Gordon University to begin a series of collaborative projects using advanced digital technology to record heritage across Orkney.
On the suggestion of pupils from Kirkwall Grammar School from a heritage workshop last year, the team decided that part of the initial pilot project would involve laser scanning the Big Tree in the centre of Kirkwall.
The Big Tree is something of an icon in Orkney and is in fact a 200 year old sycamore tree that has been a meeting place in the town for generations. The tree itself won the accolade of ‘Scotland’s Tree of the Year in 2017 and looks as if it will remain standing sentinel over the comings and goings in the town centre for a good while yet.
The Big Tree project involved the use of advanced digital data capture techniques and forms the trial run for a whole series of collaborative projects between UHI, ORCA Archaeology and RGU.
The wider project involves recording the built environment in Stromness and Kirkwall and will utilise the laser scanning expertise developed by the team at RGU together with the archaeological, architectural and social history expertise of the UHI Archaeology Institute. The results so far have been stunning and the scans can be viewed in this video produced by RGU……
The work will also be on show at The Architecture Exhibition ‘An Orcadian Caravanserai’ at The Stromness Community Centre from the 17th – 21st June 2019.
Final year students from the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture will present an exhibition exploring the social and cultural connotations of an ever growing tourism industry through a series of architectural interventions.
Newark Bay is the site of an early medieval chapel and extensive cemetery and was the focus of rescue excavations by the late Professor Brothwell between 1968 and 1972.
Due to various circumstances, the work never came to publication. ORCA Archaeology is part of an Historic Environment Scotland funded project to address this with the local community. Check out our earlier blog for more details on the project.
Like so many sites in Orkney, coastal erosion is a significant problem and has caused structural and human remains to have been lost over the years since Professor Brothwell's original excavation.
The local community, including the Friends of St Ninians, 12 volunteers, 1 tractor, 2 dogs and 250 already filled sandbags gathered at Newark over the last weekend to continue work on protecting the site, The team had an hour to put sandbags and rocks in place to protect the eroding archaeology at the site.
By 12 noon the team viewed the 250 sandbags and many large rocks that had been put in place through sheer hard work. The sandbags will protect the archaeology for a little while and will be monitored as the first phase of the project gets under way.
The team, including Mansie the black Labrador, were very pleased with their efforts and more than one member commented that it was, "Amazing what you can do in one hour on a fine day in Orkney."
This blog has been created by Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology in beautiful Orkney. We aim to add features and news about our work on the islands and further afield on a regular basis.