• Aerial view of the Ness of Brodgar, Orkney

Uncovering the past at the Ness of Brodgar

Archaeologists will be back at the Ness of Brodgar today, 4 July, beginning the painstaking process of preparing the sprawling Neolithic site ahead of this year’s excavation.

Two days of removing the hundreds of tyres and yards of protective tarpaulin that cover the ancient complex might sound fairly labour intensive but for the dig team, seeing the ancient complex revealed bit by bit for the first time in twelve months makes it more than worthwhile.

Then, from Wednesday, the real work starts.

The excavation period this year runs from 6 July until 17 August, and the archaeologists will all be keen to make up for time lost due to the coronavirus pandemic. A full team of experts will be on site this season for the first time since 2019, with the dig postponed in 2020 and only a small section excavated last year.

It means all three main trenches at the site will be re-opened, with many of the main structures set to be focused on once again. The chance to work in structure twenty-seven, with its unique architecture and massive prone slabs, is proving especially exciting.

For visitors, that means the Ness of Brodgar will be a hive of activity. The dig is open between 9.30am and 4.30pm on weekdays, but there’s no better way to experience the site than on a guided tour. The tours are free and are held at 11am, 1pm and 3pm, Monday to Friday.

There’s no need to book – just turn up at the dig in time for the scheduled start and then begin your trip back in time.

Find out more about the Ness of Brodgar via the official website, including information on visits for tour groups. You can also keep up-to-date with developments in the daily dig diary, which will be updated throughout the excavation period. You can also donate to the dig to help fund it into the future.

Please note the dig will be closed on Friday 29 July ahead of the Ness of Brodgar Open Day on Sunday 31 July. The dig may also be closed due to poor weather - check ahead to make sure.

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