Birsay-Skaill landscape archaeology project: 2014 update

2014 update

The project concluded its fieldwork phase in summer 2011, but as with any archaeological project, most of the hard(est!) work comes in processing, identifying and writing up the results (a phase known as ‘post excavation’ or ‘post-ex’). This has been proceeding well. Jane Harrison has been analysing the site stratigraphy, matrices, plans and sections; Mike Athanson has continued to build a GIS-based mapping framework into which the geophysical and field survey results are being entered; SUERC has continued to provide us with radiocarbon dates which are being subject to Bayesian statistical analysis by Derek Hamilton; Diane Alldritt’s archaeobotanical work is in excellent shape; Ingrid Mainland has just finished her main analysis of the animal bone and marine shell to add to fish remains by Rebecca Nicholson; the finds are being tackled by Colleen Batey (iron and worked bone), Amanda Forster (steatite), Derek Hall (pottery) and Steve Ashby (combs); the soil geochemistry is being worked on by Roger Doonan and micromorphology by Helen Lewis. A specialist working seminar at Historic Scotland in Edinburgh in March 2013 was a notable milestone, and David Griffiths had another very productive visit to Historic Scotland and AOC Conservation in April 2014.

The project received a huge boost very recently when David Griffiths was offered a British Academy/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship for the next academic year to ensure its progress towards a final publication. Read more about David's award.

2012 Current Archaeology Awards
The uncovering of a massive Norse longhouse at Skara Brae in Orkney is the work of archaeologist Dr David Griffiths, Director of Studies in Archaeology. He and Dr Jane Harrison, outreach officer on the East Oxford Community Archaeology project, have written a research article, Settlement Under the Sand, were a contender for Current Archaeology magazine's Research Project of the Year 2012.