Visit the Dig

Excavation work under way in Structure Eight as a tour watches on from the viewing platform (Jo Bourne)

Excavation work under way in Structure Eight while a tour watches on from the viewing platform (Jo Bourne)

Dig Dates 2021

Good to Go LogoExcavation on a much-reduced scale will resume at the Ness of Brodgar on June 28, 2021, running until August 13, 2021.

The site will be open to the public, subject to covid restrictions, between June 30 and August 11, 2021. At present, there is no need to book a visit – just turn up to the dig site.

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.

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.

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.

If you are planning a visit:

  • Please remember that the Ness of Brodgar is a working archaeological dig in a field.
  • Be prepared for bumpy, sometimes wet and slippy, ground and areas where it is not safe for visitors to go.
  • During your visit, please keep to indicated routes and stay away from the edge of the digging areas.

The excavation is only open to the public during the digging season. Over this period, there is no entry if the main gates are closed and there are no staff on site.

The rest of the year the site is closed to the public and the archaeology covered to protect it.

Where is the Ness?

The Ness of Brodgar is the thin strip of land, in the West Mainland of Orkney, that separates the Harray and Stenness lochs.

The excavation site is on the south-eastern tip of the Ness, between the Standing Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar and about 11 miles from the town of Kirkwall and five miles from Stromness.

Motorists should follow the A965 Kirkwall-Stromness road until reaching the B9055 Road, signposted “Bay of Skaill”. Continue past the Standing Stones of Stenness and the dig site is clearly signposted.

Parking

On-site parking is free – at your own risk. The site entrance is tight and tricky, however, so please be careful.

Site access and parking

Access to the dig is clearly signposted from the road – the second turn-off to the left after crossing the Brig o’ Brodgar.

Larger vehicles will find it difficult to access the site so owners of these vehicles should park at either the nearby Stones of Stenness or the Ring of Brodgar car parks and follow the footpaths to the dig site.

Camper vans

  • The Ness car park entrance is not big and camper vans will find it difficult to negotiate.
  • No coaches or minibuses are permitted on site. We are unable to accept ad hoc groups this season.
  • Coaches, vans, and any other vehicles must not be parked along the side of the Brodgar road.
  • Please do not drop passengers off at the site entrance – the road is busy and potentially dangerous.

Passing places

  • The passing places at the side of the single-track Ness of Brodgar road are solely for letting other vehicles through.
  • Please do not use them for parking.

Public Transport

Although there is no public transport directly to the Ness excavation site, buses (service X1) run between Kirkwall and Stromness regularly every day and visitors can ask to be dropped at the end of the B9055 road and walk to the site (a distance of approximately three-quarters of a mile). Click here for bus timetables.

Weekends

  • The site will be closed to the public at weekends.

Weather closures

Mike Copper shows some of his superb replica Neolithic pottery at one of the site open days.

Mike Copper shows some of his superb replica Neolithic pottery at one of the site open days.

In particularly bad weather, we might not dig – heavy rain is not only bad for the archaeology but wet and slippy sites are dangerous for archaeologists and visitor alike.

Shop and help raise funds

The Orkney Archaeology Society has an on-site shop which raises funds for both the Ness of Brodgar and the society.

The money raised by the shop benefits not only the Ness but other archaeological projects in Orkney.

There you can buy our new book, Ness of Brodgar: As it Stands, the Ness guidebook, postcards, replica Ness carved stone balls and much more – knowing that the Ness and Orkney’s other amazing archaeology will benefit directly from your visit.

Sterling and Mastercard, Visa, Maestro and Amex accepted.

Sponsor a Square

For a £10 donation, visitors can choose a square from the site and we’ll send you a newsletter at the end of the season to let you know if anything special was found in your square.

Donations

Donations can be made on site by cash, card or via QR code via our website.