Meet the Team 2017

Zoey Rizzo

As a college student majoring in Anthropology, I jumped at the chance to explore a dig site that dates back to the Neolithic era. Though it is not just the subject of the dig that excites me but also the chance to work with people from all over the world. The other excavators at the site have an incredible wealth of knowledge from which I wish to learn. I want to learn what it takes to work at an active excavation and I feel like the people there will help me achieve that goal. I want to see if working at an archaeological site is something that I can see myself doing. 

Blaine Burgess

My name is Blaine Burgess and I am currently an undergrad student at Beloit College in Wisconsin. With interests in archaeology, general history/prehistory, and the earth sciences, I was drawn to the Ness and the evolving understanding of it’s function in the Neolithic. Since this is my first field school, I’m extremely excited to get some hands on experience and determine whether the field of archaeology is truly for me.

If this goes how I hope, I intend to further pursue a career that encompasses the fields of archaeology and geology. 

Anna Wright

Years ago while scouring the hidden corners of a Barnes and Nobles, I stumbled upon a book with Celtic designs and beauteous landscapes embellished on the cover. Cracking open the book I was swept away into the culture and history of the Orkney’s.

This past mental journey is what spurred my love of cultural and archaeological discoveries and led me to pursue an undergraduate Anthropology degree at Southern Methodist University.

As I work towards finishing my undergraduate career, I am so excited to participate in the Ness of Brodgar excavation this summer. It will be my first experience joining an official dig and I look forward to expanding my excavation skills and helping to uncover the mysteries of Orkney.

Lara Shinsato

I’m an undergrad student at Willamette University, studying Archaeology and Environmental and Earth Science. I’m thrilled to be returning to the Ness for my second season where I’ll be working on my senior thesis. The focus of my research for this season will be to explore clay sources in Orkney and their significance to the structures at the Ness.

Alex Casteel

Hello, my name is Alex and broadly I’m interested in cognitive approaches to prehistoric archaeology yet primarily focusing on the Early Medieval and Viking periods and relevant Anglo-Saxon/Icelandic literature. I have just graduated (yay) and will begin a Master’s next year! I am thrilled to be back in Orkney for a second summer and a second run at the Ness. I have done undergraduate spatial/GIS research concerning Structure 10 and last year excavated in Trench T.

Avery Pike

I am from Salem, Oregon and I am very excited to be returning to the Ness for my third straight excavation season.

I spend most of my time on site working with a portable X-ray fluorescent spectrometer to analyze systematically collected samples from each of the structures’ floors. The aim of the project is to distinguish unique chemical signatures between different contexts and provide information that may be useful in determining the activities of different use areas. Occasionally, I will also analyze artifacts and other objects such as painted surfaces to get a sense of their composition.

Scott Pike

This will be my seventh season at the Ness Brodgar where I direct Willamette University’s Archaeology Field School. I am an Associate Professor of Environmental and Earth Science, Geology and Archaeology and Chair Willamette’s Archaeology Program – the only such program at a liberal arts college in the American west.

My research focuses on the application of geologic techniques and methodologies to investigate archaeological questions. More specifically, I am interested in the use, procurement and trade of geologic materials; reconstruction of the ancient landscape; shallow-earth geophysics; and the development and application of on-site and in-near-time geological methods and protocols that can be used to inform the excavation process and interpretation. My research includes projects in Greece, Italy, Israel, Bulgaria as well as historical sites in North America.
At the Ness, I use a portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer to look for geochemical variations of floor deposits. The data helps distinguish archaeological contexts and decipher activity areas within the structures. I also will pilot a camera-equipped drone to assist with recording the excavation’s progress.

Gary Lloyd

I am going into my second year at UHI Orkney as an Archaeology Undergrad. After 30 years as an Electronics Engineer in the Semiconductor Industry I retired and decided to pursue my interest in prehistory. Initially I was satisfied with travelling to historic and prehistoric sites in Scotland as an interested tourist.

But eventually just visiting wasn’t enough. I then moved on to volunteer digs, but before the end of my first one decided that was also not enough. So, I applied to UHI’s Archaeology program, enrolled, and moved from Texas to Orkney.

Why Orkney, UHI, and the Ness of Brodgar? Because they are the best places to study the Neolithic in Scotland.

This will be my first time working at the Ness and I am thrilled to be able to participate.

Pir Hoebe

Hey! I am Pir Hoebe from Groningen (the Netherlands) where I study prehistoric archaeology. This summer will be my first visit to Scotland, planning to walk the daunting 154 kilometres of the West Highland Way together with my girlfriend (and fellow archaeology student) Rosanne. What better way to conclude such a visit than with a dig on one of the most legendary prehistoric sites of northwest Europe? I’m really glad to have the opportunity to help out this summer. I look forward to joining you all in the course of the last week of July and during the first week of August!

Through my studies and my general passion for excavating I have found myself lucky enough to have been covered and smeared with a large range of sediments: sand, clay, loess, peat, loam; and in all of their variants between dust and mud. Time to add Orcadian soil to the list!

In Groningen, I am working on my research Master thesis on Late Palaeolithic blade production methods (excavating will be a welcome break).

Rosanne van Bodegom

Hi all, I am Rosanne van Bodegom, studying archaeology in Groningen, the Netherlands. To me, life is an adventure, and I find that excavations truly add to this sentiment! From the excitement of slowly uncovering the past to getting completely covered in sand and mud, it’s a blast. While having been to Scotland many times on family vacations, this will be the first time I’ll visit the Orkney Islands and the Ness of Brodgar excavations. Together with Pir Hoebe, (that other Dutchie from Groningen), I’ll be walking the West Highland Way before we travel up north.

I am currently finishing my Bachelor’s and will be starting a Master in Arctic Archaeology in Groningen in the fall. Having been on an excavation on Svalbard/Spitsbergen last summer I’ve discovered just how intriguing it is that humans can and will settle in the most extreme environments. While I definitely do not imagine the climate of Orkney to be as extreme as the Arctic, I am looking forward to learning about and experiencing the Ness of Brodgar and the beautiful rough landscape that surrounds it!