Eight Orkney projects to benefit from a share of OIC’s £50,000 archaeology fund

The ongoing excavation of the Iron Age site at Cairns, South Ronaldsay. (Sigurd Towrie)

The ongoing excavation of the Iron Age site at Cairns, South Ronaldsay. (Sigurd Towrie)

Eight archaeological projects in the county are set to benefit from a share of £50,000 funding from Orkney Islands Council this year.

This OIC’s 2012 fund for archaeological investigations will be divided between four Mainland and four isles sites.

Councillors on the development and regeneration committee agreed that the initial allocation of £40,000 should be topped up by £10,000, with the additional funding to be used for site interpretation, communication and health and safety purposes.

Half the core fund of £40,000 is set aside for isles projects to stimulate tourism and boost the economy.

The Ness of Brodgar — described in a report before councillors as “the flagship archaeological project for Orkney and one of the best Neolithic excavation sites in the world” — will receive £13,500 in 2012.

The report noted that, last season, the excavation had attracted 5,500 visitors and received excellent media coverage.

In 2010, the site was included in the American Institute of Archaeologists’ top ten excavations in the world, and last year the project won the Current Archaeology Research Dig of the Year.

The Cairns/Windwick Bay archaeological field project in South Ronaldsay is set to receive £5,900.

Described as an “excellent project focusing on the Iron Age”, the report says it “demonstrates what happens at the end of the brochs and the first contact with vikings.”

The group behind the Deerness places and names project, responsible for the last year’s Deerness in 100 Objects exhibition, has been awarded £600 towards recording information on the link between archaeology and place names in the parish.

In the isles, £4,152 has been awarded to the Hoy and South Walls landscape interpretation project, with the Braes of Ha’breck excavations, in Wyre, receiving £6,473.

Two projects in Rousay are to benefit from the remaining core funding.

The community outreach and archaeology project on the island is set to receive £1,875, and the Orkney Gateway to the Atlantic project, which is investigating the sites of the Westness Walk, has been awarded £7,500.

Of the additional £10,000 funding agreed by councillors, £3,000 has been allocated to publish the geophysical work carried out at the Ness of Brodgar, with the remaining £7,000 going towards the establishment of an Orkney Viking Trail.

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