Excavation artefacts go on display at Orkney museum

The decorated stone from Smerquoy, St Ola. (Picture: Christopher Gee)

The decorated stone from Smerquoy, St Ola. (Picture: Christopher Gee)

The Orkney Museum, in Kirkwall,  is showing a display of finds from the world famous Ness of Brodgar excavations.

A downstairs room at the museum is currently home to some of the star discoveries at the Ness of Brodgar, including maceheads, polished stone axes and a carved stone ball that was uncovered last year.

The stone ball created great excitement when it was found and is now on public display for the first time.

Also on show is a carved stone from Smerquoy, St Ola, which is believed to be the oldest piece of art to be found in Orkney.

Other finds from Smerquoy will go on display later, as will artefacts from the Cairns, South Ronaldsay.

Exhibitions officer Tom Muir, whose career began in archaeology, said: “In the past the Orkney Museum has displayed artefacts from on-going excavations – straight from the trenches and into a case.

“This display is the continuation of that partnership between archaeologists and the museum, where we give them the opportunity to show what they have found during their excavations.

“As more artefacts become available the other cases will be filled and text and photographs will complete the displays.”

He added: “When I started digging back in 1980 there was little interaction between archaeologists and the public; people could be shown around if they turned up, but there were no open days or exhibitions on what was being found.

“Things have changed a lot, and for the better. Now visitors are welcome and special open days give them access to the site.

“Orkney College UHI’s archaeological team, ORCA (Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology), is working together with the Historic Scotland ranger service to actively promote the joys of digging to a new generation.

“Along with other dedicated teams from outside of the islands, they are bringing our past to life. By making display space available within the Orkney Museum we are able to reach even more people and to make them feel that our islands’ archaeology is for everyone.”

The Orkney Museum is open Monday to Saturday, 10.30am to 5pm. Admission is free.

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