Local News

Cancellation of The Cairns Dig

As we posted on our social media sites: The Cairns Dig is cancelled.


Friday, June 10, 2022 (4:53pm)

We’re sorry to announce that, due to unforeseen circumstances, this summer’s excavation at The Cairns has been cancelled.

Work was due to resume on the Iron Age site in South Ronaldsay on Monday, June 13.

Although excavation cannot take place, students and staff from the UHI Archaeology Institute will be participating in a field school in the area. The Cairns site, however, will remain closed to the public.


The Orkney News has several articles about the fantastic Cairns excavations in South Ronaldsay. To find them just type Cairns into Search.

2 replies »

  1. Personally and purely selfishly this a blow. As being Covid Careful means that I can’t go to the Exhibition about The Cairns in the Stromness Museum https://archaeologyorkney.com/2022/05/06/cairns-stromness-exhibition/ the dig, which is all outdoors, was going to be my way of keeping up with developments at The Cairns in ‘real life’ – not just on-line.

    The cancellation is also a blow more generally simply because the dig at The Cairns is so very important archeologically. As I previously wrote…..

    “It’s hard to encapsulate the importance of the discovery of the broch at The Cairns. Orkney has many brochs, in various states between a grassy hummock in the landscape, to the magnificent Broch of Gurness near Evie village. https://theorkneynews.scot/2018/10/23/the-broch-of-gurness-brochtoberfest-iii/

    The Broch of Gurness is a fine place to visit to get a good idea of what a broch and its associated settlement can be. But when the Broch of Gurness was being excavated the approach to excavation, methods used and technology available weren’t as advanced as they are now.

    The discovery of a completely ‘new’ broch site, ripe for excavation was an exceptional opportunity…………..The site at The Cairns has revealed not only impressive structures but also much about what life in a broch might have been like. There are bones and shells – evidence of feasting? Hair combs, beads and moulds for jewellery – possibly to wear when feasting!”

    So much has been found and done there already – and there will be more.

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