Visiting the Ness this summer? What you need to know

Trench P on Friday afternoon, with its protective covering firmly in place. (Sigurd Towrie)

Trench P with its protective covers firmly in place. Work to start removing them (and the many hundreds of tyres) will begin on Monday morning. (Sigurd Towrie)

For the first time since 2019, all three main trenches at the Ness of Brodgar will be opened this summer – but although the covers start coming off on Monday, and the site will be a hive of activity, it remains closed to the public until Wednesday, July 6.

We open to visitors, on weekdays, from July 6 until August 17 – 9.30am until 4.30pm.

A group of site visitors watch the Ness of Brodgar archaeologists in action (Jo Bourne)

The pandemic saw the 2020 season cancelled and a much-reduced excavation in 2021. Although things have returned to a semblance of normality, the levels of COVID are increasing again locally and nationally.

With that in mind, and to keep staff and visitors safe, we are asking the public to avoid crowding together. Give other folk on site plenty of room, particularly during the daily tours.

During your visit you might see some of the dig staff who work indoors wearing face masks – this is not a requirement on site.

Tours take place at 11am, 1pm and 3pm on weekdays. There is no need to book spaces – just turn up on site in time for the scheduled start.

Sigurd and Roy, from the Ness team, will be giving the tours on alternate days at 11am and 1pm and the Historic Environment Scotland (HES) World Heritage Site Rangers will be on duty for the 3pm tours.

Visitors arrive at the Ness of Brodgar excavation site.

Visitors arrive on site. (Sigurd Towrie)

For tour groups, there is no need to book slots for groups of less than eight people.

Groups between eight and 15 people should book a slot with site director Nick Card ( at least 48 hours in advance. Coach tours or groups of more than 15 need to be booked well in advance.

Although we are opening Trenches J, P and T again this year, Structures Twelve and Fourteen will remain under their protective covers.

Please note that in particularly bad weather we may have to close the site at short notice – rain makes the site dangerous for diggers and visitors alike and is very bad for the archaeology. If you’re in Orkney for a few days you’ll have learned to keep an eye on weather forecast.

As usual, the entire dig will be documented in our daily diaries, so keep an eye on the website and social media for the latest news.

The Ness of Brodgar site shop – run by Orkney Archaeology Society – helps raise money for the excavation fund. (Sigurd Towrie)

And last, but not least, visiting the Ness and our guided tours are free. Please help us keep the dig going and make a donation when on site.

You can drop money in the donation buckets across the site; make a card donation with the Meet and Greet staff or simply click here to donate online. If you can’t visit the site in person in 2022, please consider a donation or Sponsor a Find.

As in previous years, the Orkney Archaeology Society (OAS) and the Ness of Brodgar Trust (NOBT) are running an on-site shop to raise funds for both organisations.

Monies raised by OAS are used for grants to Orkney archaeological projects and monies raised by NOBT go to the Ness excavation funds – so whatever you buy goes to a very good cause.

We hope you enjoy your visit to the Ness of Brodgar and let’s hope the weather gods are kind to us.

See you next week!

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