The Kirkwall town improvements have uncovered the remains of Kirkwall’s Castle and kept Orkney’s archaeologists busy over the last few days.Kirkwall’s Castle
Coastal erosion at Newark Bay has revealed more of a cemetery and archaeological site dating from the Picts and the Norse. £202,000 Awarded to ORCA for Newark Bay Research
And of course this being Orkney more has been discovered due to works relating to the proposed new sub station at Finstown which ORCA (Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology) have also been asked to excavate.
You can read about the proposed new SSEN substation at Finstown here: Proposed Finstown Substation on Show
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.
Pete Higgins, Senior Project Manager, ORCA Archaeology said:
“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.”
Magnetometer (geophysical) surveys revealed several areas of archaeological interest which were subsequently investigated by trial trenching.
Interestingly the large anomaly shown at 16 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 above.
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 .
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 above to take samples of the midden material, investigate and record the structures present.
Simon Hall, SSEN’s Environmental Project Manager, said:
“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.”