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Young people invited to join Neolithic Dig at World Heritage Site

16 July 2010

Young people in Orkney are being given the opportunity to take part in one of the island’s most exciting archaeological digs.

ORCA (Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology) and WHS Rangers Service have teamed up to offer young people the chance to learn more about the Ness of Brodgar excavations by taking part in a series of archaeology workshops running this summer. The site is situated in the Heart of Neolithic Orkney  World Heritage Site.

The workshops are organised by the World Heritage Site Ranger Service and run by archaeologist Helen Woodford-Dean. They are open to young people aged between 12-16 years and will provide them with the opportunity to find out more about archaeology, learn excavation techniques and have a chance to be part of one of the most exciting digs in the world.

The dig, which has been operating since 2003, is one of the most significant in the UK. It is led by ORCA’s Nick Card and involves archaeologists from Orkney College as well as Aberdeen, Glasgow and Cardiff universities. Volunteers also travel from across the world to take part.

Last summer, the team uncovered more of what is being described as a “Neolithic cathedral” unlike anything else that has been uncovered in the British Isles – and the team are hopeful that this season the site will reveal further treasures which will allow them to discover more about the development of this important site.

Nick Card said;

“This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone with an interest in archaeology to come down and work first hand on one of the most significant sites not only in Scotland but also in an international context.

“This is a really interesting time for the site as we will be extending the main trench to reveal more of these unique structures. Given the rich discoveries to date, these groups will be able to witness actual findings as they come out of the ground so it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of history.

“Obviously, given the significance of the site, we ensure that they are properly supported and supervised, but we want young people to get involved and learn more about archaeology, the site and Orkney’s importance in the prehistoric world - and this is a great way to do so.”

Alongside the workshops, there will be tours of the excavations Monday- Friday at 11am and 3pm for the duration of the dig (21st July- 25th August). The tours are free and are run by members of the dig and the Orkney World Heritage Site Ranger Service.

Elaine Clarke for Orkney Rangers said;

“To be able to see archaeology in action is a wonderful experience for visitors and locals alike.

“The team working at the site are fantastic at taking the time to explain the areas that they are working on and are always enthusiastic about their work, so I’d highly recommend that people take the opportunity to come down and find out more about this fascinating site.”

The archaeological workshops are being held on July 27th and August 3rd and 10th. There are a limited number of places available each day so booking is essential. Please contact the rangers on 01856 841732 for further information.

Notes for editors

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

For further information

Iona Matheson
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8703 or 07827 956 858