Good to go! Excavation resumes in 2021 with introduction of covid distancing measures

Dates set for Ness of Brodgar dig season

Structure Five

Structure Five will be one of the Ness of Brodgar buildings being uncovered this summer as we return to site. (Scott Pike)

Good to Go LogoWe are delighted to announce that excavation will resume at the Ness of Brodgar this summer – although on a much-reduced scale.

Our excavation and finds teams are in place so we are not looking for further volunteers or diggers.

We were last on site in 2019, the planned 2020 season cancelled due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. If the current easing of lockdown measures continues, 2021 will see a seven-week excavation that will be very different to previous years with several measures put in place to keep our staff and visitors safe.

Although the dig will be open to the public between June 30 and August 11, 2021, to avoid crowding we can’t run our usual guided site tours and will not be able to accept tour or coach groups. The viewing gallery will not be on site and a one-way system will be in operation.

With a smaller team than usual, the archaeological work will be on a reduced scale, with only a few of the Neolithic structures uncovered.

Nick Card, excavation director, said: “Although it will be very different to previous years, we are very much looking forward to getting back to the Ness and welcoming visitors back to see the incredible archaeology.

Structure Twelve, showing the later 'shoddy' annex added to the northern end.

Structure Twelve.

“To allow us to re-open the site we had to make changes to the usual Ness experience – but safety is paramount and we must do all we can to minimise risk to visitors and diggers. Our team have all been vaccinated and will undertake covid tests during the excavation period.”

“Although we cannot offer site tours this year, the stunning archaeology in two of the three main trenches will be uncovered and visitors will, once again, be able to see archaeologists in action at a working excavation.”

  • The site will be open to the public from 9.30am until 4.30pm on weekdays, when archaeologists are working on site.
  • There are no open days this season and the site will be closed at weekends.
  • Our excavation and finds teams are in place so we are not looking for further volunteers or excavators.

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