A Good News Story: Tourism and Archaeology in Orkney

Archaeology is a good news story for Orkney’s successful tourism industry. That was the clear message from ‘Marketing Archaeology and Tourism in Orkney’ a talk given by Sean Page of the University of the Highlands and Islands on Tuesday 27th of November. The event at the St Magnus Centre, Kirkwall, was part of Autumn Tourism Week 2018 – Ushering in a new era for Orkney Tourism.

Archaeology and Tourism Sean Page

In a recent visitor survey 53% of respondents said they chose Orkney as a destination because of the archaeology it has. Sean argued that this choice was influenced by  the active archaeological Digs that were taking place across the islands.

A responsive online presence has contributed to the interest generated by the Digs  with people visiting The Cairns in South Ronaldsay to see the actual discoveries unfolding before their eyes.

Archaeology and Tourism Nick Card

Nick Card, Director of the Ness of Brodgar Dig said that it alone contributed over £1million to the Orkney economy.  The excavations at the Ness, set  between the World Heritage Sites of the Standing Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar, have captured worldwide attention as they reveal more of their wonders.

Only 10% of the site has been excavated but it is intended to cease work there in a few years and to leave the exploration for future generations.

What will happen to the site once the diggers have left?

Nick Card dislikes the idea of a dome over the structures and reconstructing what the buildings would have been like. He thinks that possibly something similar to Barnhouse Village would be an option with a virtual reconstruction. Visitors would be able to visit the Ness, don a headset and be transported through the various stages of construction.

The Ness of Brodgar is a unique site and whatever option is chosen Nick Card feels that it should be preserved in some way.

If you would like to share your views on the future of the Ness there is an online survey: Share your thoughts – visitor experience survey set up for the Ness

The survey closes on December 19th.

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

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