The next two launch events for the Tombs of the Isles project take place in Sanday and Westray next month.
Led by the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology (ORCA), part of the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute, Tombs of the Isles was commissioned by the North Isles Landscape Partnership Scheme (NILPS).
The project will see a programme of research, walks, workshops and archaeological fieldwork (survey, geophysics, excavation) investigate some of the most iconic tombs in the North Isles of Orkney and bring the lesser-known sites into the spotlight.
Joining ORCA’s Dan Lee at both events will be Professor Jane Downes, director of the UHI Archaeology Institute.
Sanday’s best-known chambered tomb is undoubtedly Quoyness – a Maeshowe-type structure with architectural parallels to Quanterness, just outside Kirkwall and in the shadow of Wideford Hill.
Along with confirmed examples such as Tresness, where excavation continued in 2021, Sanday also also has a number of suspected sites such as Mount Maesry and Toftsness.
The Sanday launch begins with a talk in the school’s community room from 7.30pm-9pm on Wednesday, February 2, followed by a drop-in event at Heilsa Fjold on Thursday, February 3, from 10am until 4pm.
Perhaps the most spectacular evidence of Westray’ Neolithic heritage is the beautifully carved stone slab from the remains of the Pierowall chambered cairn. Other sites in the island include Curquoy, the Point of Cott, Vere Point and Knucker Hill.
Westray’s launch talk takes place in the school on Tuesday, February 8, from 6.30pm-9pm, and the drop-in on Wednesday, February 9, in the Learning Centre from 10am-4pm.
At the drop-in events visitors can look at their island’s stalled and chambered tombs, view artefacts and discuss the creation of “tomb archives” for Sanday and Westray.
Both events are free and open to all.
Dates for the project launch events in Stronsay, Eday, Shapinsay and Papay will follow shortly. Watch this space for details.
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.