Eight projects share OIC’s £40,000 archaeology fund

Visitors at The Cairns excavation, in South Ronaldsay, in 2012.

Visitors at The Cairns excavation, in South Ronaldsay, in 2012.

Eight archaeological projects in the county are set to benefit from a share of £40,000 from Orkney Islands Council in 2013.

This year’s fund for archaeological investigations will be divided between three Mainland and five isles sites.

The Ness of Brodgar — described in a report before councillors as drawing “massive media attention” — will receive £13,000 in 2013.

The report noted that, last season, input from external sources to the Ness of Brodgar was good, and included substantial donations originating in the USA.

In 2010, the site was included in the American Institute of Archaeologists’ top ten excavations in the world, and in 2011 the project won the Current Archaeology Research Dig of the Year. The Ness of Brodgar, as a part of The Heart of Neolithic Orkney, was also voted the second most recommended UK World Heritage Site by users of the travel website TripAdvisor.

The Cairns/Windwick Bay archaeological field project in South Ronaldsay is set to receive £6,500.

The project was described in the report as “gaining increasing attention, this interesting broch dig in South Ronaldsay is of high quality.”

The University of Oxford was also awarded £500 for the Birsay-Skaill Landscape project.

The report stated that the site presents an “interesting addition to understanding the Bay of Skaill’s viking past (and) contextualising the Skaill Hoard, the largest viking silver hoard to be found in Britain.”

In the isles, £3,750 has been awarded to the Hoy and South Walls landscape project, with the Braes of Ha’breck excavations, in Wyre, receiving £4,000. Both projects have been noted for their huge community involvement in the presented report.

Two projects in Rousay have also received funding.

The University of Bradford’s Orkney Gateway to the Atlantic will receive £7,000, and Orkney College’s palaeoenvironmental research will receive £3,670.

The final islands project to benefit from the funding awards is Orkney College’s inter-tidal archaeological investigations on Papay and Shapinsay, which will receive £1,580 and is described in the report as being “an important new area of investigation”

Councillors awarded £50,000 to archaeological projects in Orkney last year but decided that this should be reviewed in 2013, rather than committing to awarding £50,000 every year, for three years running, as was proposed.

When considering awarding this year’s funding, councillors were presented with two plans which would result in either awarding £40,000 overall, or opting for an enhanced assistance option and awarding £60,935. Ultimately, the members of the committee decided that the first funding option was sufficient.

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