• trench-featured
  • Andy takes the final photos of the south end of Structure Eight.
  • Site overview.
  • streetview
  • ness3d
  • A stunning view of the standing stone in the plaza, by Jo Bourne. The original south entrance to Structure One is visible behind.
  • Andy and Natasha carefully record the burial as it is prepared for lifting.
Andy takes the final photos of the south end of Structure Eight.

Can you help fund Ness of Brodgar radiocarbon dates?

The Ness of Brodgar excavation project is appealing for donations to help fund 40 radiocarbon dates from the site. The annual excavations rely on public donations and the generosity of our supporters, and we are now looking to fund 40 radiocarbon…

Site overview.

Ness of Brodgar 2016 dig dates confirmed

The dates for this year’s excavation on the Ness of Brodgar have been confirmed. The dig will resume on Monday, July 4, running until Friday, August 26. Guided tours of the excavation site will commence on Wednesday, July 6, running Monday…


Ness of Brodgar excavation now on Google Street View

After a visit to the site in June, the Ness of Brodgar excavation site has been added to Google Street View. The interactive, panoramic views allows Google Maps and Google Earth users to take a virtual tour of the dig site….


The Ness of Brodgar excavation site — in three dimensions

Regular readers of the excavation diary will have seen the references to Dr Hugo Anderson-Whymark taking photographs to allow the creation of a 3d model of Trench P. Over 600 photographs later, and hundred of hours of computer processing time,…

The covers are on at the Ness dig site

The covers are back on . . .

Day Thirty-Nine   After eight weeks excavating in sun, wind and rain, the backbreaking task of putting the Ness of Brodgar to bed for the winter began today, Thursday, August 27. With the 2015 Ness of Brodgar dig officially ending…

A stunning view of the standing stone in the plaza, by Jo Bourne. The original south entrance to Structure One is visible behind.

Dig Diary – Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Day Thirty-Eight So long, and thank you all . . . Well, dear readers, this is the last diary entry for the 2015 excavation season. Over the next two days the site will be closed down — encased in black…

Andy and Natasha carefully record the burial as it is prepared for lifting.

Dig Diary — Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Day Thirty-Seven The baby in Structure One We have rather sombre news today. Five thousand years ago, a tiny child, who died, at or near, birth, was buried in Structure One. The discovery was made by Andy Boyar, an experienced excavator…

Hugo enhances the colours of the Structure Twelve floor with a light spray before photography.

Dig Diary – Monday, August 24, 2015

Day Thirty-Six We begin today with a warning for the douce residents of Old Meldrum, in Aberdeenshire. There is a woman in your midst, charming and modest, who nevertheless has a most alarming way with vodka. We speak of Mrs…

The one-thousandth visitors at today's open day — the Pinon family, from Spain, who were presented with a signed copy of the new Ness guidebook by director Nick.

Open Day — Sunday, August 23, 2015

Over 1,200 visitors . . . We have had an absolutely amazing open day, with over 1,250 visitors enjoying a sunny, but rather blustery day. It’s been a busy day, so there’s no blog today but we hope you enjoy…

Owain leaps nimbly about in Structure Eight, arranging scales for the official photos.

Dig Diary – Friday, August 21, 2015

Day Thirty-Five A day of departures Today is a day of departures. We said goodbye to the French film crew, who have been filming here all week and who have been fortunate to see just a little Orkney sun among…


‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ in Neolithic Orkney

Following on from site director Nick’s interview on PBS Newshour in February 2013, the ongoing Ness of Brodgar excavations feature in a new article online today. Click here to read. A transcription of Nick’s 2013 PBS interview is also available…

All hands to the pumps as Structure Ten is given an extensive clean, ready for a major photo session.

Dig Diary – Thursday, August 20, 2015

Day Thirty-Four Thanks to the rain . . . Today started with a plague of mayflies — those tiny white flies, which hatch out on the margins of Harray loch and which find their greatest satisfaction in settling, in blanket…

The new dressed corner stone from the inner face of the outer wall of the south-west corner of Structure Ten.

Dig Diary – Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Day Thirty-Three Dressed to impress Those of you with access to even the most incompetent weather forecast will know that, here at the Ness, we have been suffering, yet again, from unremittingly foul weather. Yesterday was bad enough, with rain…

The first rays of the sun to illuminate the stone in 5,000 years.

Dig Diary – Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Day Thirty-Two And it has been yet another very wet day that prevented any excavation at the Ness – I think next year we will have to move the site to sunnier climes, like the south of France. However, to…

Antonia and Georgie finally remove the stone after several days of careful preparation.

Dig Diary – Monday, August 17, 2015

Day Thirty-One ‘One of the most remarkable decorated stones we’ve ever seen’ On this remarkable, sunny day we can do one of two things. We can ransack our box full of superlatives to describe what has happened, or just ask…

Site overview.

Dig Diary Extra – Saturday, August 15, 2015

More views from above Some more aerial shots from Robert Hansen’s quadcopter, taken during his visit to the Ness of Brodgar  earlier this week.

A sad farewell this week to the great team of Willamettes, who did such amazing work in mainly Trench T.

Dig Diary – Thursday, August 13, 2015

Day Twenty-Nine Hot finds on a hot day Apologies for the delay in today’s blog but Thursday night was the annual “Dig-Do” at director Nick’s house – a great night had by all, but some sad farewells too. There will also…

A fantastic overview of Trench T from Robert Hansen's drone.

Dig Diary – Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Day Twenty-Eight Fascinated, but perplexed This morning started off with a grand tour of Trench T — that far-off trench, of which little was known until it forced itself on everyone’s attention in recent days. The developments there are fascinating and…

Tori's smile says it all, with her discovery of the drain parallel to the wall in Trench T.

Dig Diary – Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Day Twenty-Seven ‘It is hard to overstate the importance of this . . .’ There are days which just potter along, in a contented archaeological sort of way. And then there are days which fairly effervesce with excitement. Today was definitely…

Two old hands — Mac and Giles — consider the next move in Structure Eleven.

Dig Diary – Monday, August 10, 2015

Day Twenty-Six The mysteries deepen . . . Here we are at the beginning of week six, with only three weeks left of the 2015 season and a strong determination to make the most of what we have left. Today, we…

Dig Diary Extra – Saturday, August 8, 2015
Bill Ross, Orkney College UHI principal, and Professor Scott Pike, of Willamette University, signing the Memorandum of Agreement today, watched by representatives of both institutions.

Dig Diary – Friday, August 7, 2015

Day Twenty-Five A day of great finds! We have ended the week with a bang. No, more like a huge archaeological explosion. Toiling through the robber cut in the outer wall of the south-west corner of Structure Ten this afternoon, Jan…

A wonderful vertical shot of Trench P from Hugo's kite.
The central chamber of Structure Ten, as Mark prepares to remove the decorated and pick-dressed orthostat.

Dig Diary – Thursday, August 6, 2015

Day Twenty-Four Rain and shine We have been plagued by the weather yet again. When we arrived in the morning it was pouring and it continued that way until lunch-time. It was so bad that site director Nick granted many…

Mai points to the location of the holed stone in the southern half of Structure Twelve.

Dig Diary – Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Day Twenty-Three Interesting finds and interesting visitors . . . Today was a day for interesting finds and interesting visitors. One of the most intriguing stones we have seen for a long while has turned up at the south end…

The new wall in Trench T, complete with large orthostat visible behind.

Dig Diary – Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Day Twenty-Two A day of surprises The story of Trench T becomes more and more interesting as each day passes. Yesterday we told you of the discovery of what appeared to be a roof tile/slab, and potential working area for…

Mark Edmonds discusses a point with Colin and Jane Renfrew and Nick Card.

Dig Diary – Monday, August 3, 2015

Day Twenty-One A distinguished visitor Today, we were absolutely delighted to be visited by Lord Colin Renfrew, one of the most honoured and celebrated archaeologists of our time and the patron of the Orkney Archaeology Society. Together with his wife,…

The team assemble to hear all about the latest revelations from Structure Ten, from supervisor Sarah.

Dig Diary – Friday, July 31, 2015

Day Twenty Dodging the downpours To start, today, we  want to introduce Jim Eltome, husband of Annabel, who runs the site shop, and the man on site who can turn his hand to absolutely anything. Distressed at the sight of diggers…


Dig Diary – Thursday, July 30, 2015

Day Nineteen Midden pits . . . in the midden We’ll concentrate today on Trench T — that long excavation on the far side of the house, Lochview, which heads from the top of the mound downslope towards the Stenness…

Jo McKenzie, our micro morphologist, takes more samples in the south end of Structure Eight.

Dig Diary – Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Day Eighteen Today was rather brutal — that’s the only word for it. It didn’t rain (much) but the wind started strong and got a lot stronger. The Ness is a very exposed place and the Orkney wind took full advantage…

Andy and Callum freshen up the floors in the eastern half of Structure One.

Dig Diary – Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Day Seventeen In search of the elusive Twenty-Three For Structure Fourteen the end is nigh, or so we are told. This would be a momentous event because the complexity of the Ness of Brodgar structures means that excavation has to be slow and…