Structure Eight's floors remain protected from the torrential onslaught of rain.

Dig Diary – Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Day Two And the rain came down Today it rained. And rained, and rained and rained. Then it rained some more. It’s still raining. It would be nice to report…

Structure Ten starts to emerge from its winter slumber.

Dig Diary – Monday, July 6, 2015

Day One We’re back and raring to go! The tyres, black plastic and sandbags, which have protected 5,000 years of precious archaeology over the winter, are slowly being removed and…

A happy line of trowellers join the Excavation Club.

Calling would-be archaeologists . . . your chance to dig at the Ness

With the 2015 excavations on the Ness of Brodgar due to kick off next week, a call has gone out to youngsters who want to try their hand at archaeology….

Roy Towers and Nick Card signing copies of the new Ness of Brodgar guidebook at the official launch in Kirkwall.

Official Ness of Brodgar guidebook now available

The first book to tell the story of the Ness of Brodgar excavation site – from its discovery, in 2003, to the end of the 2014 excavation season – is…

How things have changed. . .

From the archive – July 2008

I forgot about this entirely. A short test video (hence the terrible quality!) made in July 2008, and subsequently filed away in my archives.


Where it all began . . .

Trawling though my photograph archive (while looking for something entirely different) I came across the original pictures, from April 8, 2003, of the discovery on the Ness that started it all!…


‘Building up to a new season at the Ness of Brodgar’

A new article, written by Andrew Learmonth, about preparations for this season’s excavation has been posted on Click here to read.

A rather bedragled Nick tries to smile through the teeth of the storm as he enthuses to the OAS membership.

Dig director in Texas on lecture tour

The Ness of Brodgar excavation director was back in the USA in April, on a lecture tour brought about by last year’s article in National Geographic magazine. Nick Card, of the UHI…


Art and artefacts on show in Stromness

This summer, artefacts from the Ness of Brodgar will form a major new exhibition, which opens this weekend at the Stromness Museum. Beautifully polished stone maceheads, axes and carved stone balls…

Structure One (bottom left), Structure 12 (right) and Structure Eight (top left) with Structures Nine, Eleven and Twenty-Five nestled in between.

2015 will see first eight-week excavation on the Ness

Thanks to public support and fundraising, this year’s excavation at the Ness of Brodgar has been extended from six weeks to eight. Since work on the Neolithic complex began in…

The carved stone ball from the Ness

The carved stone ball from the Ness

A 3d photogrammetry model, by Hugo Anderson-Whymark, of the carved stone ball found at the Ness of Brodgar excavation site by Molly Bond on August 7, 2013.

Antonia discusses Jenny's latest discovery of art on the wall of Structure Eleven.

Dig Diary – Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Day Twenty-Seven Done for another year That’s it, folks. With great sadness we have to say that this is the last dig diary of the 2014 season at the Ness….

The stone box in Structure Twelve reveals its secrets to Seb.

Dig Diary – Monday, August 18, 2014

Day Twenty-Six Appeal for volunteers We have job opportunities today, very rare ones, which only occur just once a year. Yes, it is time to think again about the job…

Roy waxes lyrical to an entranced audience on the scaffold platform.

Dig Diary – Sunday, August 17, 2014

Day Twenty-Five Wow, what a day! The Ness always looks at its happiest when there are visitors around and today, our Open Day, they came in droves. It was nice…

The Structure Fourteen team compare notes as the site moves into final recording mode.

Dig Diary – Thursday, August 14, 2014

Day Twenty-Four Farewell Willamettes Sadly, today is the last day for the Willamettes, that intrepid bunch of students from deepest darkest Oregon, led by their Professor, Scott Pike. They have…

Jo and Graham reveal the standing stone stump at the bottom of Trench T.

Dig Diary – Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Day Twenty-Three A day of fantastic finds! Today has seen the most fantastic finds emerge from the soils and midden of the Ness. Not that this is in any way…

The two standing stones that flank the new entrance to Structure Twelve.

Dig Diary – Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Day Twenty-Two ‘I bet that’s a standing stone’ Let’s wind back to the beginning of this year’s dig, when site director, Nick, and Structure Twelve supervisor, Jim, were standing musing…

Jo McKenzie removes a micromorph sample from the hearth in Structure One.

Dig Diary – Monday, August 11, 2014

Day Twenty-One Something special . . . We promised you in the last blog that something special might be happening soon. Well, it has only half-happened, so today we have…

The pink team from Structure Fourteen.

Dig Diary – Friday, August 8, 2014

Day Twenty Two weeks left! This is the end of busy week four at the Ness and, horror of horrors, there are only two weeks left of the 2014 season….

Trench P overview.

Dig Diary – Thursday, August 7, 2014

Day Nineteen The view from above . . . We have a real treat for you today. With a wonderful, steady breeze, and with the sun streaming down, Hugo launched the “Flying…

The walls in the area south of Structure One (top left). Structure Eleven (top centre), Structure Twelve (bottom right) and central standing stone (bottom centre).

Dig Diary – Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Day Eighteen A day of rain . . . This is day two of the diary pottery special – largely because the Ness is being pounded, at the minute, by…

Initial clean of Structure Eight after the covers were removed from its north end.

Dig Diary – Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Day Seventeen A glimpse of the Iron Age? Today was pottery day at the Ness. Aren’t you lucky? Okay, we’re biased, but those who moan about yet another pottery sherd…

Structure One from Hugo's polecam. The southern, original, entrance is in the foreground, with the later eastern entrance on the right.

Dig Diary – Monday, August 4, 2014

Day Sixteen Getting complicated in Structure One Structure One has been primped and polished to within an inch of its life today and is looking beautiful. Hugo took more excellent…

Professor Mark Edmonds clears away the last vestiges of entrance infill to reveal the spectacular paving slab in Structure Ten.

Dig Diary – Friday, August 1, 2014

Day Fifteen Shetland connections You may have heard of Skaill knives – those flakes of beach cobble used as throwaway blades and relatively common in Orkney, but not thus far at…

Jan, Claire and Mark removing the last of the deliberate infill of the entrance to Structure Ten.

Dig Diary – Thursday, July 31, 2014

Day Fourteen Drama of the highest order This is something of a novelty. We do not often discuss human bone for the simple reason that it is rarely found on…

Trench T, clearly showing the rubble "collar" between the two revetments.

Dig Diary – Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Day Thirteen Midden matters Okay, we have to admit it. Over the past few days there has been a tendency to stifle a yawn when Trench T is mentioned. Those…

Andy and Erica define the construction cut around the hearth in Structure One.

Dig Diary – Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Day Twelve Arran pitchstone One of the more unusual stones to be found at the Ness is pitchstone – that hard, black, glass-like volcanic material which originates 400 kilometres to…

Dan orchestrates the removal of floor deposits in Structure One.

Dig Diary – Monday, July 28, 2014

Day Eleven A day of new arrivals A new group of volunteers and students arrived on site today, many of them old faces from previous years, but all clearly excited…


Dig Diary – Friday, July 25, 2014

Day Ten Colour in prehistory We will start with an update on the activities of our very distinguished visitors from Spain. Professors Mimi Bueno and Rodrigo de Balbin Behrmann are…

Structure Twelve and the central midden area from Hugo's kite camera.

Dig Diary – Thursday, July 24, 2014

Day Nine Too hot? In Orkney? We must admit it. Many of us have listened to the stories of colleagues who have worked in wonderful sunny countries like Greece or…

Just in front of Amanda and Jan is the edge of the large slab that forms the threshold to the new, wide entrance to Structure Ten.

Dig Diary – Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Day Eight Carinated bowl in Structure Fourteen? Today was pottery day at the Ness, and, oh what pottery. The prize find came from Hugo’s Structure Fourteen,  and a location we have…

Hugo demonstrates his skill as a flint knapper to an enthralled audience from the excavation club.

Dig Diary – Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Day Seven A busy day and a hot one The sun has sizzled down on the Ness from early morning and now, as we prepare to finish off the day,…

The Willamettes arrive from the USA and are straight into the HS induction.

Dig Diary – Monday, July 21, 2014

Day Six Welcoming the Willamettes Warm welcomes this morning to the students from Willamette University, Oregon, who have joined us for another year with their Professor, Scott Pike. Scott is…

Jenna revealed more dressed stone in the pier in Structure Twelve.

Dig Diary – Friday, July 18, 2014

Day Five It’s great to be back. Not that we have been anywhere in terms of the archaeology. The work at the Ness has carried on and we will give…


Dig Diary – Thursday, July 17, 2014

Day Four Today at the Ness is the perfect example of Orkney’s eccentric and ever-changing weather. It started bright and breezy in the early morning, but descended into dirty clouds,…

Archaeology everywhere – National Geographic on the Ness