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)

The Ness of Brodgar excavation site is now closed to the public. If we can raise the necessary funds we will return to the site in 2022 and look forward to seeing you then.

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.

Visitors do not need to book a visit, but tour groups of any size must arrange visits at least 48 hours before (see below).

Covid precautions

This year’s seven-week excavation will be very different to previous years with several measures in place to keep our staff and visitors safe.

  • Please respect the two-metre social distancing rule.
  • Please stick to the one-way system in operation around the site.
  • To avoid crowding we can’t run our usual guided site tours
  • We will not be able to accept ad hoc tour or coach groups (see below).
  • The viewing gallery will not be on site.
  • The site is open to the public on weekdays only (9.30am until 4.30pm. Last entry 4pm).
  • There are no “Special Sunday” open days this season and the site will be closed at weekends.

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

Site access and parking

  • On-site parking is free – at your own risk. The site entrance is tight and tricky, however, so please be careful.
  • 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.
  • The car park is specifically for visitors to the excavation site. Please do not leave your vehicle in the car park while you visit other sites in the area.

Opening hours

  • 9.30am until 4.30pm on weekdays only (last entry 4pm).
  • Closed at weekends.

Tour groups

  • No coaches are permitted on site.
  • No tour groups – which includes any guided group of any size – unless booked at least 48 hours in advance with site director Nick Card (nick.card@uhi.ac.uk).
  • Tour guides are responsible for maintaining social distancing and ensuring their clients adhere to the one-way system around the site and Covid hygiene procedures.
  • 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 passing places 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.

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.

Final points

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.

Outwith excavation season the site is closed to the public and the archaeology covered to protect it.